Jury conclude unlawful killing by murder in the Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquests; Heather Williams QC and Angela Partick acted on families behalf

The Jury in the Birmingham Pub Bombings Inquests today returned 21 verdicts of unlawful killing by means of murder.

Heather Williams QC and Angela Patrick, instructed by Nicola Brook of Broudie Jackson Canter, acted for the families of three of the 21 victims of the bombings.  Jane Davis was only 17 when she died in The Tavern in The Town.  Eugene and Desmond Reilly, brothers aged 23 and 20, also died in The Tavern.

On the night of 21 November 1974, 21 people died and over 200 people were injured when bombs exploded in two city centre pubs, The Mulberry Bush and The Tavern in the Town. At the time, the bombings were the greatest loss of life in a terrorist attack in Britain. Six men convicted of murder – known as The Birmingham Six - subsequently had their convictions quashed as unsafe over two decades ago. These Inquests present the culmination of 44 years of work by the families of the deceased to have the facts surrounding the deaths of their loved ones determined. 

The Jury concluded that the bombs were planted by and attributable to members of the Provisional IRA. A warning given in a call made to the Birmingham Post and Mail at 8.11 was inadequate and caused or contributed to the deaths. The bombs exploded at 8.18 and at 8.20. The Jury was not satisfied there was any failing by West Midlands Police which could have contributed to the deaths.

The Coroner closed with a statement of admiration for the families and sympathy for their loss:

“The atrocity of the night of Thursday 21 November 1974 are now etched in the history of Birmingham. Those dreadful events will never be forgotten, because the people of Birmingham will never forget the 21 lives that were tragically lost.”

There has as yet, been no successful criminal prosecution for the murders committed on 21 November 1974. Although the names of some of the persons alleged to have been responsible were heard publicly at the Inquests, the Court of Appeal upheld the Coroner’s ruling that the identification of perpetrators should be outside the scope of inquiry. Any criminal investigation now arising from the facts canvassed by the Inquests will be a task for West Midlands Police.