40 Years Later, One of Worst UK Terror Attacks to be Reinvestigated

Birmingham pub bombing case saw six men wrongfully convicted in 1975.

Today, Louise Hunt, the senior coroner of Birmingham and Solihull, England, ordered a new inquest into the 1974 pub bombings in Birmingham that killed 21 people and injured 182.

“I hope that our fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers are looking down and they’re proud,” Julie Hambleton, who lost her 18-year-old sister, Maxine Hambleton, in the blast, said between sobs, standing outside the court in Solihull. “This is way beyond our expectations.” Julie Hambleton and her brother Brian Hambleton founded Justice4the21, which campaigned for the renewed investigation.

The double bombing, on Nov. 21, 1974, is widely recognized as the work of the IRA, but those responsible remain free. A group of men known as the Birmingham Six spent 16 years in prison but had their convictions overturned by the Court of Appeal in 1991. The police investigation that led to their arrests was considered mismanaged.

Hunt reportedly told the court in Solihull, “There is a wealth of evidence that still has not been heard” before deciding that a new investigation should begin.

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