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Birmingham pub bombings: Reports of new DNA evidence false and misleading, say police

Published 03/10/2016

Wreckage at the Mulberry Bush pub after the 1974 attack
Wreckage at the Mulberry Bush pub after the 1974 attack
The aftermath of the Birmingham pub bombings in November 1974
The shocked crowd outside The Tavern in the Town pub in Birmingham after the 1974 bombings
The wreckage left at The Tavern in the Town pub in Birmingham after a bomb exploded

West Midlands police have said that no new evidence has been uncovered in the Birmingham pub bombings investigation.

Over the weekend, The Sunday Mirror reported that new evidence had been uncovered as part of Operation Castors, a review into the attack and police investigation.

The report claimed that a memo seen by the Sunday Mirror from the Office for ­Security and Counter-Terrorism says three new DNA profiles have been uncovered as well as two fingerprints on items retrieved in the aftermath.

It said the evidence is being cross-checked against police force databases in Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic which could open up new lines of enquiry.

However West Midlands police said the reports are false and misleading.

A police spokesperson said: "Media coverage at the weekend claiming potential DNA breakthroughs in the Birmingham pub bombings investigation are false.

"The reports, allegedly based on a leaked memo, are misleading. There is no new DNA or fingerprint evidence.

"West Midlands Police believe the material referred to in the press relates to DNA and fingerprints identified on anonymous letters examined by Nederlands Forensisch Instituut that were analysed more than two years ago, in the summer of  2014.

"The coroner and family members engaged with the inquest were already aware of this.

"Regrettably, the press articles are misleading in suggesting new material has been identified. It is disappointing that the newspaper did not contact West Midlands Police before publication for clarity which could have avoided unnecessary upset to the families of the victims of the 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

The attacks on the Mulberry Bush and Tavern bars in the city killed 21 and injured over 200.

The 1974 bombings were blamed on the IRA.

Officers and forensics examined thousands of items of evidence.

Six men were convicted of the 1974 bombings a year after the attacks. They became known as the Birmingham Six and had their convictions quashed in 1991 by the Court of Appeal.

Following a lengthly campaign by relatives of those killed, fresh inquests were ordered.

However, the Government has refused direct funding to help the families with legal fees.

More: Funding request for Birmingham bomb victims' families rejected

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