Two men are today named as prime suspects in the IRA pub bombings in Birmingham, which killed 21 people and left 182 injured.
In a special documentary to be broadcast this evening, Michael Patrick Reilly and James Francis Gavin are identified as allegedly being involved in the attacks.
Reilly has never before been publicly named as a suspect, while Gavin has been connected, but not as one of those suspected of planting devices.
Reilly has denied any involvement.
Evidence uncovered in the new probe implicates both as allegedly having key roles in the 1974 atrocity, when two bombs exploded in crowded pubs in the city centre.
The blasts at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern In the Town were among the deadliest of the Troubles.
Six men – known as the Birmingham Six – had their convictions quashed in 1991 after 16 years in prison.
They had always insisted they were beaten and signed false confessions.
No one has since been brought to justice.
In tonight’s ITV Exposure programme, court documents reveal Reilly – a member of the Birmingham IRA cell – was questioned about the pub attacks in the 1970s.
But it never emerged as Reilly was charged in connection with six unrelated bombings and conspiracy.
He pleaded guilty to four of the seven charges and got ten years.
The ITV team looked at material in the National Archives and interviewed officers from the original inquiry.
Bill Squires, a former detective inspector for West Midlands Police anti-terror squad, originally arrested Reilly in 1975 as a suspected IRA member.
“I thought he’d done something serious,” Squires told the programme.
“And that he was happy to make admissions and accept a sentence because there was more serious matters in the locker.”
Confronted recently in Belfast by ITV’s John Ware, Reilly denied planting the bombs, or knowing the bombings were going to take place.
He did not comment on being a member of the IRA or the allegation he was the unnamed man who previously admitted involvement to ITV’s World in Action.
“I’ve got nothing to say,” he said.
“Well, you can ask what you want, but I’m not going to answer. You’re wasting your time.”
James Gavin died in 2002. In 1977, he murdered a suspected IRA informant and was sentenced to life.
It comes as the Court of Appeal has ruled a new inquest into the attacks will not consider the identity of the bombers.
But relatives are still desperate for answers.
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In the show, Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was killed, aged 18, in the blast at the Tavern, says: “What do I want?
“Me, personally, I want the b*****ds who killed my sister and the other 20 to be brought to justice…”
Michael Reilly’s solicitor told the programme: “Our client denies all the allegations and does not intend to respond any further to the unfounded allegations you have made.”
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