Families demand the truth 44 years after Birmingham pub bombing killed 21

Those who lost loved ones in Birmingham’s 1974 pub bombings say they hope “the truth” will finally emerge as the inquests into the 21 who died resumed.

Paul Bridgewater, whose dad Paul Anthony Davies died, said yesterday: “We want the truth. It’s been too long.”

His sister Michelle Sealey added: “It’s the knockbacks that make you want to push forward even more because there is something there we need to find out.”

Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine was among the dead, also attended the start of the inquest.

She has said all the families sought was “truth, justice and accountability”.

However coroner Sir Peter Thornton QC, who read out the names of those who died and held a minute’s silence, said: “It’s not the task of this inquest to identify the perpetrators. That is [for] the police, prosecutors and courts.”

Instead the inquest will look at how 999 services responded and any advance warnings they may have had.

He told jurors at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre they will hear evidence from witnesses who have since died.

As well as the 21 killed, 220 were injured when bombs went off minutes apart at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town on November 21.

The blasts were widely blamed on the IRA. Six men jailed in 1975 had their convictions quashed. Sir Peter said: “It is still possible someone might be brought to account.”

He said there would be evidence alleging security forces may have had warnings. It includes “over heard” talk in a prison and in a pub.

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