Relatives of those killed in the
Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine was killed in the IRA attack, and five others are refusing to pay the £200 fixed penalty notices issued by West Midlands Police.
Their lawyers had asked for the fines to be annulled given the ‘sensitivities’ and the fact that they were attending a ‘carefully planned’ event, but the force has refused, meaning the six could now end up in court.
Julie Hambleton and five others are refusing to pay £200 fines issued by West Midlands police after attending a memorial for those killed in the Birmingham pub bombings by the IRA in 1974
Twenty-one people were killed and another 220 injured when devices exploded within minutes of each other in two city centre pubs. Pictured: Firemen at work following the bomb attacks
Twenty-one people were killed and another 220 injured when devices exploded within minutes of each other in two city centre pubs on November 21, 1974.
The Birmingham Six were found guilty of the murders a year later but the convictions were eventually overturned after one of Britain’s worst miscarriages of justice.
In November last year, families and campaigners organised an event to mark the 46th anniversary of the attacks and highlight the Justice for the 21 campaign. England was in the second national lockdown at the time.
Beforehand, Miss Hambleton, who has led the families’ long fight for justice, worked with a team from WMP to ensure traffic disruption was at a minimum and that the event complied with Covid regulations.
On the day, hundreds of supporters in cars and vans and on motorbikes took part in a cavalcade which threaded its way through Birmingham, ending up outside the West Midlands Police HQ at Lloyd House.
There, several people from the convoy started to gather. Miss Hambleton said she went over to the group – who were all wearing masks – to thank them for their support and ask them to disperse.
On the day of the memorial event, hundreds of supporters turned up and took part in a large cavalcade through the city and several people gathered. Miss Hambleton says she asked people to disperse but police issued fines which they say were ‘proportionate and necessary’
Subsequently, West Midlands Police issued six penalty notices.
Miss Hambleton said: ‘My summons talks about “without having a reasonable excuse”, implying I have done something wrong by remembering my sister who was blown up in the biggest unsolved mass murder in criminal history.’
In a letter confirming the intended prosecution, temporary assistant chief constable Chris Todd said he was satisfied the action was ‘proportionate and necessary in these circumstances’.
The matter would be pursued through ‘standard criminal justice proceedings’.