THE BIRMINGHAM PUB BOMBINGS INQUEST (1974): THE EVIDENCE OF CHRIS MULLIN
KRW LAW LLP represent ten of the families of victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974 in the resumed inquest into the deaths of their loved ones.
Following the evidence of former IRA Director of Intelligence Kieran Conway and from former IRA member Witness O, Chris Mullin was examined by barrister Leslie Thomas QC today.
Chris Mullin, the author of Error of Judgment, which in part was responsible in leading to the release of The Birmingham Six, confirmed today that his investigation needed to establish the names of those responsible for The Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974 in order to secure the release of The Birmingham Six. In his evidence Chris Mullin said:
“I know who carried out the bombings, yes, and I think that is in any case becoming public knowledge. I suspect the police know about it now.”
He confirmed the names of Mick Murray (who built the bomb and made the warning call), Seamus McLoughlin (head of the Birmingham IRA ASU who authorised the bombing), and James Gavin (a planter), and Michael Hayes, whose roll in the bombings Mr Mullin could not confirm. He also named The Young Planter. Michael Hayes continues to live in Dublin. Mr Mullin confirmed that the role of The Young Planter was to carry the bombs (in a suitcase and a duffle bag) together with James Gavin into Birmingham. James Gavin said they were going to plant bombs in city centre pubs. The Young Planter was anxious that innocent civilians would be killed. James Gavin assured him that a warning would be given and that no one would be killed – “Don’t worry those people will be well out of there.”
The Young Planter had been told before the night of the bombings ‘to stay at home and to keep his head down’ – until he was asked to become one of the bomb planters. Mr Mullin continued to refuse to name the Young Planter, despite being pressed by Mr Thomas who accused Mr Mullin of protecting the identity of those responsible for murder and by not going to the police.
At that point Julie Hambleton, the sister of Maxine Hambleton, shouted at Mr Mullin “You are a disgrace” and left the court. Mr Mullin has previously commented that he feared the inquest would raise expectations of the families of the victims:
“For that reason I have not joined the campaign for the case to be reopened. The only effect of doing so is to raise expectations that cannot be fulfilled, which can only lead to further upset for the relatives of the victims.” (The Guardian 10thFebruary 2016)
“Personally, I have mixed feelings. If there is any genuinely new evidence then by all means examine it, but so long after the event there is a danger that a renewed inquiry will arouse expectations that cannot be fulfilled and lead only to more disappointment and heartache for the families of the victims.” (The Guardian 1stJune 2016)
Mr Mullin was pressed on whether he had ever given information to the West Midlands Police (WMP) following his investigations. He confirmed that he had been interviewed by the Devon and Cornwall Police in the late 1990s but that since then the police had shown little interest.
KRW has asked before that as the issue of who bombed Birmingham is not within the scope of this inquest, then what actions are being taken by the three police forces (the WMP, the PSNI and the Garda) to investigate those named or identified by these inquests?