Some 40 years ago two pubs in Birmingham were left obliterated after they were bombed moments apart. The attack killed 21 people and injured nearly 200. Six men were arrested and consequently charged but in March 1991 their convictions were overturned and since then no one has been brought to justice.
One of those murdered was Maxine Hambleton (pictured), just 18 years of age. Her sister, Julie Hambleton, now campaigns tirelessly to find the true killers. She has gathered nearly 4,000 signatures on a petition to open up a new investigation. Julie has also recently come face to face with Paddy Hill, one of the Birmingham Six who wrongly served time behind bars.
Julie spoke about the their campaign to open up a fresh investigation, meeting Paddy Hill and the call for an amnesty by the Northern Ireland attorney general, John Larkin.
- Find out more about the ‘Justice for the 21’ campaign HERE
Why don’t you think people are interested in the bombings?
‘It’s not that people aren’t interested in the bombings, it’s the fact that the government and authorities have done such a good job of ‘burying’ the memory of the bombings. It’s almost as if the West Midlands Police and government wish we (the surviving members of those murdered and the survivors) had been buried alongside our dead. The utter inertia of our police and government is as iniquitous as the crime itself. Our government appear to see our dead as collateral damage, BUT we don’t. Maxine, my sister, was not born to be murdered..’
How has meeting with Paddy Hill influenced the campaign?
‘Meeting Paddy Hill was the most traumatic event in our lives to date. He was associated with the biggest mass murder on mainland Britain of the 20th Century and because the police did such a good job in the press, we had always believed that he was one of the men responsible for killing our sister. However, no one will know the full truth until all the papers are released and made open to the public for them to make up their own minds. Nevertheless, Paddy has been extremely accommodating, for which we are grateful.
‘John Larkin did not decide to make those comments of his own accord. None of these parliamentary representatives ever make such decisions themselves. All decisions that are made regarding anything in politics will not be agreed to without going through the PM’s office first and regarding NI it will have gone via the Privy Council too and MI5!
Click here to sign the petition.
Author: Kate Drummond
Justice Gap reporter and Winchester Journalism student.