Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Birmingham pub bombings: Innocent man Paddy Hill jailed over attack speaks of 'first step' nearer truth

By Alexander Britton

Published 01/06/2016

Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six who was wrongly convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings, speaks to the media outside Solihull Civic Suite on June 1, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six who was wrongly convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings, speaks to the media outside Solihull Civic Suite on June 1, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six who were wrongly convicted of the Birmingham pub bombings, outside Council House in Solihull where it was announced that fresh inquests are to be held into the deaths of 21 people in the bombings after years of campaigning by victims' relatives. PA
Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six who were wrongly convicted of the pub bombings

One of the Birmingham Six, Paddy Hill, has hailed a coroner's decision to resume inquests into the 21 victims of the pub bombings as a "first step" to getting "nearer the truth".

Two explosions rocked the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town pubs in the city centre on the night of November 21, 1974, injuring 222 people, in an attack blamed on the IRA.

Julie Hambleton, sister of Birmingham pub bombings victim Maxine Hambleton and Paul Thrupp, son of victim Trevor Thrupp, react outside Solihull Civic Suite on June 1, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Julie Hambleton, sister of Birmingham pub bombings victim Maxine Hambleton and Paul Thrupp, son of victim Trevor Thrupp, react outside Solihull Civic Suite on June 1, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Brian Davis, who's younger sister Jane was killed in the Birmingham pub bombings, reacts outside Solihull Civic Suite on June 1, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Brian Davis, who's younger sister Jane was killed in the Birmingham pub bombings, reacts outside Solihull Civic Suite on June 1, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Senior coroner Louise Hunt on Wednesday ordered inquests into the deaths to be resumed after an hour-long hearing at Solihull, West Midlands.

Mr Hill, who was jailed alongside five others for life in 1975 before his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991, welcomed the ruling.

But speaking on the steps of the court, he said he was "sceptical" the truth about the circumstances surrounding the bombings would come out.

He said: "We will never get justice but I tell you one thing that we can get and that's the one thing we deserve the most: the truth.

"It's not so much me, I know the truth, I want this for the families.

"They have had their whole worlds collapsed twice, once when we got convicted and they had something to focus on - they thought the guilty people were in prison.

"Then we get released and ever since, they've been fighting for this for 20 years."

The former prisoner who spent 16 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, also criticised West Midlands Police.

The wreckage of the Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham after a bomb exploded in November 1974
The wreckage of the Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham after a bomb exploded in November 1974

"I don't think the Birmingham police could spell the word 'truth', never mind tell it.

"They're rotten."

Read more

'Tip-offs' prompt coroner to resume inquests into 1974 Birmingham pub bombings

Fresh inquests ordered into deaths of 21 people in 1974 Birmingham pub bombings

Ex-IRA chief says British mole may have known about Birmingham pub bombings  

File photo dated 14/03/91 of the Birmingham Six outside the Old Bailey in London, after their convictions were quashed. (Left to right) John Walker, Paddy Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Chris Mullen MP, Richard McIlkenny, Gerry Hunter and William Power. PA
File photo dated 14/03/91 of the Birmingham Six outside the Old Bailey in London, after their convictions were quashed. (Left to right) John Walker, Paddy Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Chris Mullen MP, Richard McIlkenny, Gerry Hunter and William Power. PA

He added: "This is the first step on the road to hopefully getting a bit nearer the truth. Whether we will get the whole truth or not, I'm not sure... I'm very sceptical about that."

Asked by the assembled reporters why he thought the West Midlands force had opposed the families' legal bid for the coroner to resume the inquests, Mr Hill said: "There's too many skeletons in the cupboard.

"They (police) had advanced warning before the bombs went off and they never took any notice and they did not take any steps to prevent it.

"If they had have done, the people that did the bombings would have been caught and convicted. Instead they let it happen and this is the result: 21 innocent people lost their lives and 200 people injured."

West Midlands Police chief constable Dave Thompson said its response to the bombings was "the most serious failing in this force's history".

He added the force will assist the coroner's office in its inquiries.

File photo dated 22/11/74 of the wreckage left at the Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham after a bomb exploded, as a coroner is set to rule on whether to open new inquests for the 21 victims of the Birmingham pub bombings after years of campaigning by relatives. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 1, 2016. Louise Hunt, the senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, will give her ruling in connection with the twin 1974 blasts on Wednesday, after already holding several review hearings. See PA story INQUEST Birmingham. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 22/11/74 of the wreckage left at the Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham after a bomb exploded, as a coroner is set to rule on whether to open new inquests for the 21 victims of the Birmingham pub bombings after years of campaigning by relatives. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 1, 2016. Louise Hunt, the senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, will give her ruling in connection with the twin 1974 blasts on Wednesday, after already holding several review hearings. See PA story INQUEST Birmingham. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
FILE - June 01, 2016: Coroner Louise Hunt is due to rule on whether to resume an inquest into the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings today. On 21 November 1974 bombs were detonated in two different pubs in Birmingham, killing 21 and injuring 182. Six men were jailed, but their convictions were later quashed and they were released in 1991. Wreckage and debris litter thebarely recognisable interior of the 'Mulberry Bush' public house in Birmingham, after it was bombed by the Provisional IRA (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
File photo dated 22/11/74 of the outside of the Mulberry Bush pub in Birmingham after a bomb exploded, as a coroner is set to rule on whether to open new inquests for the 21 victims of the Birmingham pub bombings after years of campaigning by relatives. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday June 1, 2016. Louise Hunt, the senior coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, will give her ruling in connection with the twin 1974 blasts on Wednesday, after already holding several review hearings. See PA story INQUEST Birmingham. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
FILE - June 01, 2016: Coroner Louise Hunt is due to rule on whether to resume an inquest into the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings today. On 21 November 1974 bombs were detonated in two different pubs in Birmingham, killing 21 and injuring 182. Six men were jailed, but their convictions were later quashed and they were released in 1991. 22nd November 1974: Firemen sift through the remains of the pub, TheTavern in the Town' in Birmingham, after it was bombed by the IRA. (Photo by Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images)
FILE - June 01, 2016: Coroner Louise Hunt is due to rule on whether to resume an inquest into the 1974 Birmingham Pub Bombings today. On 21 November 1974 bombs were detonated in two different pubs in Birmingham, killing 21 and injuring 182. Six men were jailed, but their convictions were later quashed and they were released in 1991. 25th November 1974: Wreckage and debris litter the street outside the 'Mulberry Bush' public house in Birmingham, after it was bombed by the Provisional IRA (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Online Editors

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph