Suspected perpetrators names of bombers who killed 21 people could be named.
Relatives of the 21 people who died in the Birmingham bomb attacks in 1974 hope to hear the inquests coroner say within weeks that he will now allow names of suspected perpetrators to be given in public.
That follows a High Court judicial review in London last week quashing coroner Sir Pater Thornton’s ruling last year restricting the scope of the new inquests.
Thornton decided that the names of the alleged perpetrators, believed to be in the IRA, would not be part of the framework of the inquests.
But at the High Court review hearing Justice Sue Carr and Lord Justice Simon said, “We are minded to quash the coroner’s decision which excluded the perpetrator issue and remit the case so as to enable him to reconsider the decision.”
A spokesman for the inquests said the coroner now wishes to take some time to consider carefully the judgment handed by the High Court and its impact on the future progress of the inquests.”
Relatives hope to hear at the next pre-inquest review hearing on February 22 that they have won their battle for the suspects to be named.
Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine died in the bombings, said the High Court ruling was “a very positive move forward.” She called it “one of common sense.”
She said the judges had effectively asked the coroner to now ask, “Who murdered our loved ones?”
She added, “We truly hope the coroner will now reconsider and realize that without the perpetrators in scope, the inquest will make a mockery of our justice system.”
Justice4the21, the main campaign group representing many of the relatives, said they would “no longer participate” in the hearings following the coroner's decision last year to restrict the scope.
Inquest sittings were held days after the bombings but closed without hearing any evidence.
The victims’ families have fought for years to have the inquests reopened. The only named suspect in the public arena is that of 70-year-old self-confessed IRA bomb maker Michael Hayes who now lives in south Dublin.
He admitted in a BBC documentary last year that he was part of the group responsible for the Birmingham pub bombings.
That followed him being named in 1990 in a Granada TV documentary as one of the men behind the Birmingham bombs – a role he denied at the time.