Decision Into Birmingham Pub Bombing Inquest Due
1 June 2016, 07:09
The families of 21 people who died in the Birmingham pub bombings - will find out if an inquest into their deaths will be reopened today.
The twin devices, timed to go off within minutes of one another, killed 21 people and injured 182 others.
Members of the IRA are believed to have carried out the attacks but no one has ever been held accountable. The men wrongly convicted over the attacks, known as the Birmingham Six, were freed by the Court of Appeal in 1991 and later awarded damages.
Shortly after their convictions were quashed, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Barbara Mills, placed a 75-year embargo on files relating to a Devon and Cornwall Police inquiry into the West Midlands Police investigation. Those files will not be released until 2069.
Calls for a public inquiry have also been denied and West Midlands Police have said there isn't enough evidence to launch a new, full scale investigation.
Paul Bodman's dad Stanley, was killed in the attack on the Mulberry Bush, where he was having a drink after work. He told Heart he wants the police to back the victims' families:
The bombings remain Britain's biggest unsolved mass murder, and the victim's families have made repeated claims of a police cover up and, more recently, state conspiracy.
Lesley Robinson, his girlfriend and 7 friends survived the bomb blast at the Tavern in the Town. He was 22 at the time.
He'd just arrived and was playing at the bat and ball machine moments before the explosion:
At previous hearings held to consider the families' application, the senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Louise Hunt, asked West Midlands Police to disclose their records.
The documents she has asked for relate to lost evidence, response times on the night, and falsified documents, which campaigners allege may have been forged to protect an IRA informant.
Ms Hunt said the sensitive information was 'significant' and raised concerns that the security services had advanced notice of the bombings.
However, it remains confidential and will only be revealed to the public if the inquest goes ahead.
Another request for information, which the coroner made to three government departments, regarding a potential IRA informant, will also now only be pursued if the inquest is resumed.