Family members of the 1974 IRA pub attack in Birmingham suspect police and bomber suspects


A family of women killed in a bombing of a Birmingham pub by a provisional IRA in 1974 sued West Midlands police, and the man they claimed was one of the bombers.

Margaret Smith, whose 18-year-old daughter Maxine Hamburg was murdered in a tavern in the Town Pub on November 21, 1974, issued a civil warrant to Michael Patrick Riley and Sir David Thompson, Chief Police Officer of the West Midland Police Department. ..

Maxine’s sister, Julie Hamburgon, said, “This is left for families like us because successive British governments refused to help families like us gain justice in other ways. It’s the only step. “

Riley, in her 60s, was arrested under the Terrorist Act in November 2020 and was cross-examined by police in connection with the bombing of a town tavern and Mulberry Bush, killing 21 people and injuring 200. Involvement in the case.

Reilly’s lawyer, Padraig O’Muirigh, said: Our client completely rejects the plaintiff’s claim and the legal proceedings issued are tightly defended. My client has never been convicted of a crime related to the 1974 pub bombing. “

Smith’s proceedings allege that the West Midlands police’s first investigation, which captured the wrong people and allowed real bombers to escape justice, was negligent and violated its legal definition.

The attack on the pub was part of the Interim IRA’s mainland bombing campaign, targeting British civilians in an attempt to force the British government to accept United Ireland.

Like the bombs in the two pubs, the third device didn’t turn off, but West Midlands police managed to lose it.

Paddy Hill, Hugh Callaghan, Gerard Hunter, Richard McIlkenny, William Power, and John Walker (well known as Birmingham Six) were arrested and convicted in 1975 on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

Sixteen years later, after an investigation by journalists and subsequent MP Chris Mullin, their conviction was revoked in the Court of Appeals.

The Hamburg family has applied for legal assistance in Northern Ireland to fund the proceedings, but said it would crowdfund if it failed.

Under the Northern Ireland Proceedings (Legacy and Reconciliation) bill, which was revealed in the Queen’s Speech but not yet legal, the new civil proceedings related to the matter will be invalidated.

A spokeswoman for the West Midlands police said, “We can confirm that we have received a civil warrant.”

PA Media contributed to this report.

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in crime, police and law, covering stories from a wide range of countries.