Relatives of Birmingham bombing victims launch crowd-funding campaign

The Justice4the21 campaign wants an inquests to name potential suspects

Relatives of Birmingham bombing victims launch crowd-funding campaign

Members of the Justice4the21 campaign, 28-11-2016. Image: Joe Giddens/PA Archive/PA Images

Families of the Birmingham Pub bombing victims have launched a crowd-funding campaign to challenge a coroners ban on naming suspects.

The two IRA bombings took the lives of 21 people and injured hundreds more in November 1974.

In early July, the chief coroner of England and Wales Peter Thornton QC ruled out the naming of possible suspects at fresh inquests into the attack.

He said that including the identity of suspects would see the inquests "taking on the role of a proxy criminal trial" adding that any ruling which indentified suspects would be unlawful.

He warned that various criminal investigations had attempted to uncover the identity of the attackers over the years and warned that any attempt by the inquest to do so would be, " piecemeal and incomplete, mostly reliant upon persons named in books and the press, mostly by journalists."

While the actions taken by emergency services following the attacks will not be examined, evidence will be heard on whether police were twice tipped off about the the attack before the bombs went off.

Justice4the21

The ruling has angered families of the victims who have questioned the usefulness of an inquest that cannot name the suspected bombers.

This morning the Justice4the21 campaign said they "vehemently disagree" with the decision and launched a crowd-funding campaign aiming to raise €10,000 to fund a judicial review seeking to overturn it.

The relatives said that 42 years on from the attack they are "still fighting to get truth, justice and accountability for our loved ones, murdered in cold blood."

"This can only be achieved if the issue of who was responsible for the bombings is included in the inquest," they said.

"We do not believe justice can be served through an inquest that does not consider the core issues relating to the bomb makers, bomb planters and their associates and their actions.

"The only way we can challenge the coroner's ruling on the scope of the inquest is by going to the High Court. We vehemently disagree with the decision and need to challenge it."

Michael Hayes in an interview with the BBC

IRA bomber

The issue came to a head after self-confessed IRA bomber Michael Hayes gave a BBC interview in which he accepted collective responsibility" for the bombings.

He claimed he did not who actually planted the explosives - and offered his apologies and "heartfelt sympathy" to the victims.

The families of the victims have rejected the apology - calling Mr Hayes "gutless and spineless" and expressed their disgust that journalists could speak to Mr Hayes, while the inquest could not.

The crowd-funding campaign has 29 days to reach its target of £10,000. It has raised £685 so far today.