Northern Ireland news

Relatives of Birmingham bomb victims say they won't pay Covid fines

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine died in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974

RELATIVES of victims of the Birmingham pub bombings have said they will not be paying fines for alleged breaches of Covid regulations linked to a memorial event.

The Justice for the 21 campaign held a convoy in Birmingham on November 21, the 46th anniversary of the IRA atrocity.

Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was among 21 people killed in the 1974 blasts, said she won't pay a £200 penalty notice as the event was planned within guidelines and after advice from West Midlands Police.

Five other campaigners have received similar fines following the Convoy for Justice event, in which hundreds of supporters took part in a cavalcade through Birmingham.

Campaigners said social distancing rules were observed in an event marshalled by police and ending outside West Midlands Police headquarters.

Ms Hambleton, who is a prospective independent candidate for the post of West Midlands Police Commissioner, said she would not pay the £200 fine because she has done nothing wrong.

“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.

“I feel there is an irony in that six of us have had the notices. We are the new Birmingham six."

Kevin Winters of KRW Law, who represents the families, said police should annul the fines immediately on the basis that the actions of those present "were in accordance with the regulations and that the convoy of remembrance was a well-planned event which attracted a large number of disciplined participants".

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