West Midlands PCC hopes pub bombing verdict will reassure families of victims
The police and crime commissioner for the West Midlands, David Jamieson, has expressed hope that the families of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings will be reassured by the conclusions of the jury following an inquest into their deaths.
“It was right that after so long and with so many questions remaining that Sir Peter Thornton QC examined the belief – held by some – that the authorities knew about the bombings in advance but did nothing with that knowledge.
“The jury concluded that this did not happen. I hope this will reassure the victims’ families,” Mr Jamieson said.
Twenty-one people were killed in 1974 when bombs exploded at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs. A further 220 people were injured.
Last week inquest jurors concluded that an “inadequate” IRA warning call caused or contributed to the deaths and there were no errors in the way police responded to the warning call and their actions did not contribute to the loss of life.
Mr Jamieson added: “The inquest also heard from a witness who claimed to be from the IRA. He named four people who he alleged were responsible for the bombings. Three of those men are now dead: Mick Murray, James Gavin and Seamus McLoughlin. In the past all three have been questioned by the police about their role in the killings. There was insufficient evidence to prosecute. The fourth alleged bomber, named by the witness at the inquest, was Michael Hayes.
“I can confirm that West Midlands Police has a team working on the pub bombings case and continues to follow all lines of enquiry. Whilst I can’t comment on an active investigation, I can reiterate that the chief constable will do all he can to bring the people responsible to justice.
“I support the chief constable and his intention to ensure details of the case are published in future. This will allow us all to see the complexities and the difficulties the force has faced.
“My heart goes out to all those affected by the terrorist attack of 1974. It is a scar on Birmingham’s past. The investigation, of course, continues and I will ensure that everything possible is done to catch the perpetrators. Those who lost their lives that night will not be forgotten.”
WMP Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: “As I have said on many occasions, the investigation into the pub bombings continues. Our approach is when and if significant new information comes to light we scrutinise it to see if anyone can be brought to justice.”