Protestors call for McGuinness' arrest ahead of state banquet

The sister of a woman killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings has called for the arrest of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness ahead of tonight’s state banquet.

Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in the atrocity, is taking part in a small demonstration outside Windsor Castle calling for justice for the victims of the bombings.

Mr McGuinness will attend the banquet hosted by the Queen of England as part of the first ever Irish state visit – a move unthinkable only a decade ago.

Ms Hambleton expressed anger at the British establishment for giving “permission” to Mr McGuinness to “come on to the mainland”, adding: “By rights he should be arrested. He’s got so much blood on his hands.”

She described his attendance at the event as “the epitome of hypocrisy”.

She added: “We are absolutely outraged at the British establishment.”

Ms Hambleton said she does believe it was not the Queen’s own decision to invite Mr McGuinness.

Aileen Quinton whose 72-year-old mother Alberta died in the 1987 Enniskillen bomb agreed.

“I think she’s put in a very difficult position,” she said.

Also outside the castle is John Radley, who was in the Irish Guards and was injured in the Chelsea Barracks bomb in 1981. He said victims like him have been “thrown on the scrapheap”.

He added: “McGuinness hasn’t got the balls to meet us.”

Mr Radley said that while many incidents happened 20 or 30 years ago, victims “live with it every single day”.

Yesterday it was announced that no new inquiry will be launched into the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings after a re-examination of the evidence.

Chief Constable Chris Sims from West Midlands Police said no new evidence had been discovered that would help bring anyone to justice for the atrocity in Birmingham town centre which claimed 21 lives and left 182 injured.

But he insisted that the investigation was still open, in spite of the force’s announcement.

Nobody has been brought to justice for the atrocity when two bombs exploded at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town pubs on November 21, 1974.

Six men were jailed for the bombings in 1975. The Birmingham Six, as they became known, spent 16 years in prison before their convictions were quashed in 1991.

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