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Birmingham pub bombings: 'I drove my sister to her death'

Birmingham pub bombings: 'I drove my sister to her death'

Maxine Hambleton, 18, was killed while handing out party invitations in one of the pubs
The brother of a Birmingham pub bombings victim felt he had "driven my sister to her death" by giving her a lift to the city on the night she died.Brian Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was among 21 killed in the 1974 blasts, recalled his final memory of her as inquests into the atrocity resumed.His was one of a number of emotional "pen portrait" tributes read at the outset of the new hearings.Family members said the dead were "cruelly robbed" of their lives.Two bombs planted by the IRA on 21 November ripped through the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs, killing 21 and injuring 182.
Twenty-one people died when two bombs were detonated in Birmingham in 1974
Mr Hambleton told the hearing at Birmingham Civil Justice Centre he had driven 18-year-old Maxine into the city in return for her ironing his shirt.He said: "I will always remember her closing the car door and walking away from me, waving at me. My joyful, carefree, upbeat, talented sister I would never see again.""I had literally driven my sister to her death," he said.Jurors also heard one of the victims, Michael Beasley, gave away a "lucky charm" to the wife of the Mulberry Bush's landlord that night.
Ten people died in the first blast at the Mulberry Bush, below the Rotunda building
"He told her he'd found a lucky Cornish pixie charm on the bus on the way to town that night and gave the charm to her," said Peter Skelton QC, for the coroner."Mary kept the charm and always carried it with her."
Latest news from the West Midlands
The inquest heard statements about 16 victims on Tuesday, including:
Neil 'Tommy' Marsh, aged 16, the youngest victim of the bombing. His cousin, Danielle Fairweather-Tipping, said he "died as a child", days before his 17th birthday
Neil's friend, 17-year-old Paul Davies. His daughter Michelle Sealey and son Paul Bridgewater paid tribute to their reggae-loving father who "loved martial arts and Bruce Lee"
Punchcard operator Lynn Bennett, who met up with fellow victim Stephen Whalley after the pair made contact through the NME's lonely hearts column
Motor factory worker James Craig, known as Jimmy, whose family was originally from Northern Ireland. "His only interest was playing football," his brother Bill Craig said
John Rowlands, who served in the Second World War with the Fleet Air Arm, was an electrician in peacetime and a "bit of a card and a joker", his son Paul said
Trevor Thrupp, a 33-year-old father and a railway guard, had an "infectious" laugh and was the "life and soul of the party", son Paul said
Stanley Bodman, who was described by son Paul as "larger-than-life" character. A father-of-three and an electrician, Mr Bodman had served with the RAF in wartime
James Caddick, 56, who was a porter at the nearby Birmingham markets and was drinking with friends in the Mulberry Bush the night of the bombings
John Clifford Jones, known as Cliff, whose son George described the post office worker as "modest and unassuming"
Charles Gray, 44, a toffee factory worker who was said to be a "mild-mannered and agreeable" man
Pamela Palmer, whose sister Pauline Curzon said "her companionship and kindness is a memory I treasure"
Maureen Roberts, 20, who was said to have striking auburn hair, "the colour of gold", who was "happy-go-lucky" with a great sense of humour
Marilyn Nash, 22, who worked at Miss Selfridge and often went for a drink in the Tavern in the Town after work
The remaining statements are due to be heard on Wednesday.
Birmingham
Birmingham pub bombing inquests
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