Call for new inquiry into Birmingham bombings
A new investigation into the IRA Birmingham pub bombings in 1974, which killed 21 people, should be held, the candidates in next week’s elections for the West Midlands police commissioner have agreed.
During a local radio debate yesterday, one candidate, former West Midlands Police detective Mike Rumble, said it was a “disgrace” that the investigation into the 1974 atrocity had not been reopened.
Known later as the Birmingham Six, Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, Johnny Walker, Hugh Callaghan, Richard McIlkenny and Billy Power were wrongly jailed in 1975 for the bombings.
The court of appeal in London ruled in 1991 that their convictions were unsafe because they were based on unreliable forensic evidence and confessions that were made after they had been beaten by police.
No one else has ever faced investigation for the bombings.
Conservative candidate Matt Bennett said: “It is bad enough to lose a loved one in such tragic circumstances, but to be denied justice in that way is appalling.”
Former head of the West Midlands Police Authority Derek Webley, who is also contesting next week’s elections, said it was “vitally important” that “there is a fresh eye that looks into this”.
Labour candidate Bob Jones, a Wolverhampton city councillor and former West Midlands Police Authority chairman, said: “The lack of justice for the families is a continued stain on West Midlands Police.”
Next week’s elections in England for police commissioners are a first since they will have the power to sack chief constables but not the authority to interfere in police operations.