Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham pub bombings: Victim's daughter backs calls for answers

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Media captionDaughter of Birmingham pub bombings victim breaks silence

A woman whose father was one of 21 people killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings has backed calls for answers over one of the UK's worst terrorist attacks.

Michelle Sealey was just a baby when her father, 17-year-old Paul Davies, was killed.

The bombing of two pubs on 21 November 1974 is generally acknowledged to have been carried out by the IRA.

Last month it was announced inquests into the deaths would be reopened.

The original hearings were opened days after the attacks, but were not continued after the jailing of the men known as the Birmingham Six, whose convictions were later quashed.

Image caption Paul Davies was just 17 when he was killed in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974

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Ms Sealey said she felt the loss of never being able to get to know her father - who was walking past the Tavern in the Town, one of the pubs targeted, as the bomb went off - and regrets he did not get the chance to be a grandfather to her children.

"He's missed all that, my children have missed all that, and myself - it's been hard," she said.

"A lot of people would say 'How can you love somebody that you didn't know?', but growing up it was never something that was hidden. Hearing so much about him from an early age... gave me that automatic connection to him."

Ms Sealey said she hopes reopening the inquests would bring "some truth" to how her father and the other 20 victims of the attack were killed.

Birmingham pub bombings

21 November 1974


people killed



  • 20:18 GMT A bomb explodes in a bag in the Mulberry Bush pub, near the Rotunda building, killing 10 people

  • 20:20 GMT A second bomb goes off in the Tavern in the Town, on New Street, killing 11 people

  • 6 men were wrongly convicted for the attacks and spent 16 years in jail before their acquittal

Image caption Michelle Sealey was just six months old when her father Paul Davies, pictured, was killed in the Birmingham pub bombings

Campaigners who called for the inquests to be reopened have already written to new Prime Minister, Theresa May, and incoming Home Secretary Amber Rudd to call for legal aid for relatives of the victims ahead of the preliminary hearings, which are scheduled for October.

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine died in the attack, said families feel like they are "hanging in the balance" while they wait for the decision to be made, as they cannot expect their legal teams to continue to work pro bono.

"We believe that our loved ones' lives and deaths are worth no more and no less than Hillsborough, Omagh or anybody else's," she said.

"This is our last chance to get justice and truth and accountability."

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