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Man, 65, released after arrest in Belfast over 1974 Birmingham pub bombings
18 November 2020, 12:15 | Updated: 19 November 2020, 23:20
A 65-year-old man has been released following his arrest in connection with the murders of 21 people in the 1974 pub bombings in Birmingham, West Midlands Police said.
West Midlands Police said the suspect was held by counter-terror officers in Belfast.
Detective Chief Superintendent Kenny Bell, head of Counter Terrorism Policing West Midlands CTU, said: “We are committed to finding those responsible for the terrible murders of 21 innocent victims almost 46 years ago.
“Let me assure families of the victims and the people of Birmingham that we’re working relentlessly to find the bombers and bring them to justice."
Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in the bombings, said the news of the arrest was "the most monumental event" in the criminal investigation into the bombings since the quashing of the convictions of the Birmingham Six in 1991.
When she was telephoned by a senior West Midlands Police officer with news of the arrest on Wednesday, she told of how she broke down in tears.
"I couldn't speak, I was just inconsolable and was just looking at the picture of Maxine," she said.
"It's welcome news. It's overwhelming news. It's tangible progress."
Last month Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was considering whether to hold a public inquiry into the bombings at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs on the night of 21 November 1974.
Victims' families have long called for an inquiry. Last year inquests ruled the victims were unlawfully killed, but did not establish who was responsible. Five suspects, two still alive, were named at the inquest.
The inquest last April found a botched IRA warning call led to the deaths of 21 people unlawfully killed in the atrocity.
The two bombs planted in the two pubs also injured up to 220 other victims.
A flawed investigation by West Midlands Police led to the wrongful convictions of the Birmingham Six - one of the worst miscarriages of justice in British legal history.