Birmingham pub bombings: Call to reopen investigation

Maxine Hambleton Maxine Hambleton was one of 21 people killed in the bombings

A call to reopen the investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings is being considered by the prime minister.

Relatives of some of the 21 people killed in the bombings have compiled a dossier of their case, which is being read by David Cameron.

Nearly 40 years after the attack, the family of one of the victims, Maxine Hambleton, are campaigning for the case to be reopened.

A spokesperson for the prime minister confirmed he had received the report.

'A kind of limbo'

The bombings took place at two pubs - The Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town - on 21 November 1974.

Twenty-one people were killed when terrorists blew up two Birmingham pubs in 1974

Miss Hambleton, described as "kind, full of life and funny" by her family, had gone to the Tavern in the Town on the night of the attack, which left 182 people injured.

It is still not known who was behind the bombings.

Six men from Northern Ireland, known as the Birmingham Six, who were convicted of the attack in 1975, were freed by the Court of Appeal in 1991, after their convictions were ruled unsafe.

Now the family of Miss Hambleton, who was 18 when she died, are working together with one of the Birmingham Six, Paddy Hill, to campaign for the case to be reopened.

"If [the police] did everything that was humanly possible, how come the perpetrators are still out there with their liberty?" said Julie Hambleton, Maxine's sister.

"It's very very hard... I'm stuck in a kind of limbo," added her brother Brian. "I've always had the sense that the people in power thought we would go away.

BIRMINGHAM PUB BOMBINGS

  • Two bombs exploded, killing 21 people, in November 1974
  • Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Johnny Walker, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny and Billy Power were jailed for life in August 1975
  • The case was referred back to the Court of Appeal, but the convictions were upheld in 1988
  • The convictions were quashed at London's Old Bailey in March 1991

"But we are still here and we won't go away. I will be fighting this until the day I die."

The Hambletons have met Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, who passed their dossier to David Cameron earlier this year.

He told the BBC: "There's every reason there should be an investigation."

Evidence is also being reviewed by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit. A previous police investigation closed in 1994, with no prosecutions.

Marcus Beale, assistant chief constable, said: "We have been gathering together all the material from the investigations in 1974, the latter investigations in the late 80s and the further work that was done in the 90s by West Midlands Police.

"We'll go with reinvestigating if that's the right thing to do."

  • For more on this story, watch Who Murdered Maxine? on Monday 18 November at 19:30 GMT on BBC One or on BBC iPlayer.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Birmingham & Black Country

Weather

Birmingham

21 °C 15 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    News on the hour 15:00: Rob Mayor Journalist, BBC WM

    The GMB union's told BBC WM that yesterday's announcement of 6,000 job losses at Birmingham City Council, is a result of the "disproportionate" way funding had been slashed for larger authorities compared to "those in the shires."

    Rachel McClean, who hopes to become conservative MP for Birmingham Northfield next year, says she feels the council's not done enough. Listen to BBC WM for more on this story.

     
  2.  
    Motorbike burst into flames 14:54: Birmingham Mail

    A critically injured motorcyclist was airlifted to hospital when he fell from his bike after it burst into flames near Tamworth Snowdome.

     
  3.  
    Emergency manhole repairs 14:38:

    BBC Travel says Lionel Street in Birmingham is closed and there's heavy traffic between the Newhall Street junction and the Summer Row junction because of emergency manhole repairs.

     
  4.  
    Foster 'plays through pain' 14:28: Express and Star

    Goalkeeper Ben Foster is ready to play on for West Brom despite revealing he has broken a bone in his thumb.

    Ben Foster
     
  5.  
    'Good progress' on Wolverhampton fire 14:18: Alex Homer BBC Local Live

    The incident commander at West Midlands Fire Service says good progress is being made at the Eastfield scrapyard fire.

    He is working closely with site staff and planning to release some of the crews there.

     
  6.  
    Smoke across A41 14:10:

    BBC Travel News says there's slow traffic on the A41 Bilston Road in Wolverhampton between the Sharrocks Street junction and the A4126 Ettingshall Road junction because of smoke billowing across the road.

     
  7.  
    News on the hour 14:00: Rob Mayor Journalist, BBC WM

    In the 14:00 bulletin, there are fresh calls for the West Midlands to be more devolved more powers from Whitehall, regardless of the vote in Scotland.

    Robert Alden, who leads the Conservative group on the city council has told BBC WM he doesn't want our region to lose out. You can hear more from him on BBC WM.

     
  8.  
    Scrapyard fire in Wolverhampton 13:55: Alex Homer BBC Local Live

    Forty firefighters in eight fire engines are dealing with a large scrap metal and waste fire in the Eastfield area of Wolverhampton.

    Smoke coming from the fire

    Black smoke is billowing from Fletcher Metals in Hickman Avenue. West Midlands Fire Service received a call to the site at 12:23.

     
  9.  
    Advice on Wolverhampton fire 13:40:

    West Midlands Fire Service is advising people in Monmore Green and Horseley Fields to stay indoors and close windows because of thick, black smoke coming from the fire at Fletcher Metals in Hickman Avenue.

     
  10.  
    20mph speed limit proposals 13:30:

    Birmingham City Council tweets: On Sat 20 Sept join the #BCR team at Brum Council House, 11am-3pm to find out more about 20mph speed limit proposals.

     
  11.  
    Walsall 'buzzing' over regeneration 13:16: Express and Star

    "Vibrant, buzzing and exciting" is how Walsall's regeneration chief has described the town and borough, following the announcement of another big name to sign up to the area.

     
  12.  
    Rush hour chaos 13:06: via Facebook

    BBC Midlands Today says this picture by Caroline Sellers is evidence of rush hour chaos.

    Rush hour chaos in Quinton

    She says: "This is the scene at least once a week on the extremely busy intersection between Hagley Road and Birmingham New Road in Quinton."

    She blames the traffic lights and says people's safety is being put at risk.

     
  13.  
    News on the hour 13:00: Rob Mayor Journalist, BBC WM

    The GMB union says yesterday's announcement of 6,000 job losses at Birmingham City Council is a result of the "disproportionate" way funding has been slashed for larger authorities compared to "those in the shires."

    In the news we'll hear from the Conservative prospective Parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Northfield who says she feels the council's not done enough.

    Hear more on BBC WM at 13:00.

     
  14.  
    Warm, sunny spells 12:47:

    The cloud will continue to break up this afternoon to allow some warm, sunny spells to develop for most places. Highs of 22C (72F).

     
  15.  
    Panto debut 12:36: via Facebook

    Birmingham Hippodrome posts a podcast about Jane McDonald's Panto debut in Jack and the Beanstalk.

    Jane McDonald
     
  16.  
    Aston Bridge closed 12:26:

    Aston Bridge in Birmingham is closed at Dartmouth Circus because of structural inspections.

    BBC Travel says a diversion is in operation via Thomas Street.

     
  17.  
    The last council-subsidised Tory conference? 12:16: Patrick Burns Political editor, Midlands

    I am working on an item for tonight's Midlands Today about the forthcoming Conservative Party Conference which opens in Birmingham a week on Sunday.

    Marketing Birmingham says 14,000 visitors and 1,000 media employees will bring in business to the city worth £17m.

    But with no more of the main autumn conferences so far confirmed, could this be the last? This is certainly the last of the conferences covered by the controversial funding deal agreed by the former Conservative/Liberal Democrat administration on the city which covered nearly £1.5m of the costs of using the venue.

     
  18.  
    Makeover for congestion hotspot 12:04: Dudley News

    A major road in Dudley is to get a £5m makeover which bosses say will reduce delays at the congestion hotspot.

    Pensnett High Street is an important borough route which serves Pensnett Trading Estate, the largest secured trading estate in Europe.

     
  19.  
    News on the hour 11:58: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    At 12:00 we will hear how the jobless rate has dropped to its lowest level since 2008. More on this on BBC WM.

     
  20.  
    Sparkbrook disorder: Fifth man charged 11:53:

    A fifth man will appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court later charged with the murder of Ikram Ullah Khan in disorder in Sparkbrook, West Midlands Police says.

    Murder scene near Farm Road, Sparkbrook
     
  21.  
    Men found 'clinging onto lorry' 11:31:

    The Central Motorway Police Group says officers have arrested three males for illegal entry into the UK after finding them on the M6 clinging to the underneath a lorry.

     
  22.  
    Coffin factory to become museum 11:22: via Facebook

    BBC Midlands Today writes that in its heyday the Newman Brothers coffin factory in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter made fittings for the caskets of Sir Winston Churchill and Diana, Princess of Wales.

    Museum site

    Now, 15 years after it closed down, the Victorian factory is being given a new purpose as a museum. Elizabeth Glinka's been to take a look ahead of its official opening next month.

     
  23.  
    Collapsed sewer 11:11: Birmingham Updates

    Northfield Road in Harborne is closed until Saturday 20 September between Tennal Road and Quinton Road, due to a collapsed sewer.

    Divert via Quinton Road, Harborne Park Road.

     
  24.  
    News on the hour 11:00: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    In the 11:00 bulletin we will hear that former West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire has appeared in court charged with fraud over travel expenses and money laundering, which she "strongly denies". Listen to BBC WM.

     
  25.  
    Share your views 10:53: Alex Homer BBC Local Live

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.

     
  26.  
    Yardley body discovery 10:38:

    Earlier we brought you news of a body being found in a Yardley park.

    West Midlands Police has just said "the death of a man in Gilbertstone Recreation Ground this morning is not being treated as suspicious and has been referred to the coroner".

     
  27.  
    Former MEP in court 10:25: Elizabeth Glinka Presenter, BBC Midlands Today

    Former MEP Nikki Sinclaire has appeared in court charged with fraud over travel expenses and money laundering. She'll stand trial in January.

    Nikki Sinclaire - archive image
     
  28.  
    Street art festival to double 10:15: Birmingham Post

    The inaugural City of Colours street art festival in Birmingham has proved such a success that next year's event will be doubled.

     
  29.  
    News on the hour 10:00: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    In the 10:00 bulletin we will hear how unemployment in the West Midlands is down to 194,000.

    The latest figures show a drop of 9,000 between May and July, that's just over 7% of the population. Listen live to BBC WM for more.

     
  30.  
    'Giant spider invasion' 09:56: via Facebook

    Dudley Zoological Gardens writes that its registrar Dr Dave Beeston will be appearing on Danny Kelly's show on BBC WM in a few minutes to discuss an "invasion of giant spiders".

    Tarantula
     
  31.  
    No local football winners 09:46: Daz Hale Presenter, BBC WM

    There were no winners among our three local sides in action last night but for Wolves, there was a more than decent point away at unbeaten Charlton.

    Lee Clark meanwhile admitted that despite a promising first half his team failed to perform in the second as they went down 0-2 to Sheffield Wednesday.

    Walsall suffered a bit of a hammering, shipping four goals away at Rochdale.

     
  32.  
    'New centre of Great Britain' 09:36: Michelle Dawes Journalist, BBC WM

    I'm in Sutton Coldfield for BBC WM where this village could be the new centre of Great Britain if Scotland votes yes.

    Walmley village sign

    The Ordnance Survey has used the "centre of gravity" method to find the point at which a cardboard cut-out of Great Britain and its 401 associated islands would theoretically balance on a pinhead.

    If Scotland votes no, Dunsop Bridge, the Lancashire village, would remain Great Britain's geographical centre.

     
  33.  
    Pupil excluded from primary school 09:28: Birmingham Mail

    An eight-year-old pupil has been excluded from a Birmingham primary school after allegedly threatening another classmate with a knife in the toilets.

     
  34.  
    Suspected art thief 09:20: Alex Homer BBC Local Live

    CCTV footage has been released of the suspected attempted theft of a piece of a wall art commemorating World War One from a city centre art gallery.

    The culprit police want to trace

    The culprit can be seen attempting to conceal the frame of the artwork first inside his jacket then underneath his T-shirt before walking off with it tucked under his arm.

    Anyone who recognises the man is asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

     
  35.  
    Overturned vehicle on M54 09:07:

    BBC Travel News says two lanes are closed on the M54 westbound between J1, A460 (Wolverhampton), and J2, A449 (Wolverhampton), because of an overturned vehicle.

    There's congestion to the M6 J10a.

     
  36.  
    News on the hour 08:57: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    Our top story at 09:00 is that union officials are meeting with Birmingham City Council over the announcement of 6,000 job losses. Listen live to BBC WM for more.

     
  37.  
    Man's body found 08:49: Matt Lee BBC News, West Midlands

    The body of a man has been found in a park in Yardley.

    Police were called to Gilberstone Recreation Ground in Moat Lane at about 07:00. A forensic tent has been set up.

    The force said it was trying to establish the man's identity and cause of death and it was "too early to say" whether his death was suspicious or not.

     
  38.  
    Top headline
     
  39.  
    Council cuts: 'Two Longbridges' 08:39: Kath Stanczyszyn Political reporter, BBC WM

    I'm outside the former MG Rover site in Longbridge, Birmingham, to talk about the revelation that 6,000 workers will be cut at Birmingham City Council before 2018.

    Former MG Rover site in Longbridge

    That number would mean 13,000 jobs at the authority would have been lost since 2010.

    The council's Labour leader Sir Albert Bore said that number would be "two Longbridges", harking back to the collapse of the car plant in 2005.

     
  40.  
    Council cuts: Union view 08:25: Alex Homer BBC Local Live

    Gill Whittaker, from the GMB union, told BBC WM that yesterday's announcement of 6,000 job losses at Birmingham City Council, was a result of the "disproportionate" way funding had been slashed for larger authorities compared to "those in the shires."

    She said officials' primary aim now was to ensure staff and the union's members remaining at the council were "looked after" and to ensure that "as many of them as possible retained their jobs".

     
  41.  
    Council cuts: Union talks 08:09: Jay Vydelingum Journalist, BBC WM

    Trade union officials will meet with Birmingham City Council bosses in the next half an hour to discuss the shock announcement of 6,000 job losses at the authority.

    Hear more from the GMB union in the next few minutes live on BBC WM.

     
  42.  
    Delays on M6 08:05:

    Two lanes are closed on the M6 southbound between J9 (Wednesbury) and J8 (M5) because of an accident involving a car and a lorry, BBC Travel News reports.

     
  43.  
    Good morning 08:00: Alex Homer BBC Local Live

    I'm in the BBC WM newsroom bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Birmingham and the Black Country.

    The weather's a bit gloomy around Birmingham this morning, but it looks like it should get a bit brighter later on.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SpiderWeb of wonder

    BBC Earth takes a unique journey inside the body of a giant tarantula

Programmes

  • Cinema audienceClick Watch

    Brighter 3D films - the new laser-based system promising to deliver crisper, clearer movies

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.