Friday, 4 Dec 2020

Man, 65, arrested over deaths of 21 people in 1974 Birmingham pub bombings

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A man has been arrested in connection with enquiries into the murders of 21 people in the 1974 pub bombings in Birmingham, West Midlands Police has confirmed.

Officers from Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands CTU, working with colleagues from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, arrested a 65-year-old man at his home in Belfast on Wednesday, November 18.

The man was arrested under the Terrorism Act and a search of his home is being carried out.

He will be interviewed under caution at a police station in Northern Ireland.

Bombs were planted in two Birmingham pubs, the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town (later renamed the Yard of Ale).

The explosions killed 21 people and injured 182 others.

The arrest comes just days before the 46th anniversary of the incidents and just a month after Home Secretary Priti Patel said she would consider holding a public inquiry into the bombings.

Ms Patel also wanted to visit Birmingham to meet justice campaigners, including Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in the bombings.

Responding to news of the arrest Ms Hambleton called it "the most monumental event" in the criminal investigation into the bombings since the quashing of the convictions of the Birmingham Six in 1991.

When she was telephoned by a senior West Midlands Police officer with news of the arrest on Wednesday, she told of how she broke down in tears.

"I couldn't speak, I was just inconsolable and was just looking at the picture of Maxine," she said.

"It's welcome news. It's overwhelming news.

"It's tangible progress."

Six men – the so-called Birmingham Six – were jailed for life for the bombings but released 16 years later, in 1991, when their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal.

  • Crime
  • Pubs

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