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1974 Pub Bombings – families meet Chief Constable Chris Sims

Monday 7 April 2014

Relatives of two of the 21 innocent people who died in the Birmingham city centre pub bombings have this morning (Monday 7 April) met with senior officers from West Midlands Police.  

The update meeting, hosted by CC Chris Sims and attended by Detective Chief Supt Kenny Bell, gave the families the opportunity to discuss at length the current assessment into the pub bombings being undertaken by West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit.

Chief Constable Sims started the meeting by expressing his sympathy to the families of those who died on that terrible night.

“I have real sympathy for the emotion and agony endured by the families of those killed.  I want to be clear that I admire the dedication shown to keep the tragedy in the public eye.  The bombings and those who died should never be forgotten.

“The assessment we are undertaking began in June 2012. We have collated and preserved some 18,500 items, including information from the original investigation in 1974 and the 1991-1994 investigation. In excess of 9000 items required assessment and we have also commissioned an independent review of the potential forensic evidence.


“There have been questions over the years why certain individuals such as the people named by the media apparently never formed part of any investigation.  I want to be open and transparent today and tell you that these men had been subject to investigation in the 1970s and the 1991-94 investigation.  There was insufficient evidence for proceedings against any person.

“The starting point for my considerations was the words of then Chief Constable, Sir Ron Hadfield and Dame Barbara Mills (DPP) when announcing the conclusion of the reinvestigation in 1994. The DPP expressed satisfaction with that investigation and both noted the absence of any other ‘reasonable lines of enquiry’.

“My professional judgement is that the 1991-94 investigation was carried out to a good standard."

CC Sims added: “Nothing would give me more satisfaction than to bring those responsible for this atrocity to justice.  However we have found no new evidence that would assist us in bringing anyone to justice for the pub bombings.

“I have been able to share with these families further details regarding the tragic events of that night.  I am sorry that families were not kept up to date or engaged with as is standard practice today.  40 years ago was a different era and a different force.

“However, I make this pledge today – I would like to offer families of those who died or people who were hurt on the night to be given as much information as possible to answer the questions that we can.  I would ask them to contact us so we can start that process.”

Mr Sims concluded by reassuring the families that this investigation remains open:  “It is always possible that brand new and significant information could become available to us –  let me be clear – this case is not closed.”

To view the West Midlands Police presentation, click here.

Relatives of the deceased or those who were injured who wish to discuss the latest assessment should call West Midlands Police, by dialling 101.

Alternatively, any victim, survivor or person affected by any act of violent conflict such as terrorism or political violence at home or abroad can receive assistance from Survivors for Peace.

Survivors for Peace is a network of around 500 people affected by conflicts such as 'the Troubles,' 9/11, London 7/7 and incidents around the world.

Survivors for Peace helps people to connect with others who have experienced similar incidents and trauma.

Please feel free to contact (fully confidential) on 01925 581 231 or ann.beswick@foundation4peace.org.

The charity, Victim Support, are also available to offer help and advice. To contact the charity, either email westmidlands@victimsupport.org.uk or call 0300 303 1947.

The charity SAMM - Support after Murder and Manslaughter - are also available for those affected by calling their helpline 0121-471-1200 or emailing info@samm.org.uk. Their web-site is www.samm.org.uk