Families Of Birmingham Pub Bombings Confident Inquest Will Resume

12 May 2016, 19:38

Birmingham Pub Bombing 1974

A man whose dad was killed in the Birmingham Pub Bombings - has told Capital he's confident the inquest into all victims' deaths will be resumed.

Paul Rowlands dad John was one of 21 people killed when bombs exploded at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town back in 1974.

Paul was just 11 years old when police told his mom the news.

This afternoon at a final hearing before the decision on new inquests is made a coroner admitted a "significant'' piece of information has been sent to her.

Senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull Louise Hunt said she received "sensitive information'' from an undisclosed source in a submission sent to her office on April 27, just days before a key hearing.

Speaking ahead of what is due to be her final decision on whether to reopen the inquests on June 1, Ms Hunt added the material was "significant'' and related to an allegation the security services had some advanced notice of the deadly bombings on the night of November 21 1974.

She said: "It's significant and does raise concerns in relation to potential advanced notice.

"That's as much as I can say.''

Ms Hunt said she was not aware the information had ever appeared in the public domain.

Lawyers for the families of the 21 people killed in the double bombing of the Tavern in the Town and Mulberry Bush pubs in 1974, have already alleged the security services may have had prior knowledge of the attacks.

Lawyer Christopher Stanley says if an inquest is resumed it will be a huge undertaking.

Loved ones of some of the victims who attended Thursday's hearing in Solihull, West Midlands, said they had not been told what was contained in the secret memo.

It will be 42 years this November since the blasts ripped apart the two pubs packed with pre-Christmas revellers, in attacks which are widely acknowledged to have been the work of the IRA.

A third bomb found in a bag on the Hagley Road in Edgbaston, Birmingham, failed to go off and was later lost by West Midlands Police.

The investigation into the bombings, which injured 182 people, led to the jailing of the Birmingham Six, who were later released in 1991 after their convictions for murder were overturned by the Court of Appeal.