The Birmingham Framework by Fr. Denis Faul and Fr. Raymond Murray (1976)
[Key_Events] Key_Issues] [Conflict_Background]
WILLIAM POWER formerly of 43 Cranwell Grove, Pye Hayes, Birmingham, 24.
Until my arrest I lived at the above address with my wife and four children, aged between three and eight years, and also my brother-in-law since March 1973. I came to England from Belfast in 1963, where my mother and my two brothers live. I was in trouble with the police once here and fined £5, and have only been back to Ireland once, that was for five days in 1970 when my father died.
In Belfast I went to the same school as Gerard Hunter and James McDade, but only vaguely knew them there. Then I met both in Birmingham and we used to drink together and sometimes worked for the same painting firms and lived close to each other in Aston; our wives were very friendly too. We had other friends, and their wives also, who used to socialise with us. From the beginning of 1973 we had practically lost touch with each other as by then we had all moved from Aston to different parts of Birmingham, except on a rare occasion when we would chance to meet, or on the very few occasions I visited Gerard Hunter’s house and have a pint with him in the Crossways Public House, which was about four or five times in all, and on a dinner time when both of us were not working. I hadn’t seen James McDade since January, 1974. Of the others accused with me, Walker and Hill, I had noticed were friends of Gerard Hunter and I had not really known them, they were just someone I would say "hello" to. Hugh Callaghan I had seen around Aston, but only knew him as Hughie. Richard McIlkenny, I saw for the first time four days before our arrest. The others on conspiracy I never met before. I knew nothing of any raffles or collections at the Crossways and have never been in the College Arms. My local was Hardy Spicer Social Club, of which I was a member of the Don Club and played for them in the Birmingham Don League every Sunday morning. My wife went to Bingo every Thursday there and we used it whenever we went out together most Saturday evenings and some Sunday evenings also.
Towards the end of 1973, Mrs. McDade asked my wife to put her, James McDade and their small son up for a week or two and my wife obliged; they left after about ten days and moved into a flat on the other side of Birmingham.
On Friday, 15th November, 1974, I heard that James McDade had been killed. Gerard Hunter called at my home on Saturday 16th November and told my wife that they were going to arrange a collection for Mrs. McDade, (which is generally done when someone dies whom you know), and asked if I would lift a collection from Hardy’s "Don" team. I saw Gerard next day and told him I couldn’t as there was another collection in progress at Hardy’s at that weekend. He said that he was going home to J. McDade’s funeral and asked me to come with him. I agreed, but didn’t know if I could raise the fare; he was the same. We met Walker and McIlkenny and McIlkenny left after a few moments, and we had a pint together in Fishers and Ludlaws Club; that was Sunday. I met Gerard again on Wednesday in the Crossways pub. Walker was with him and they had the Mass Cards for the Mass which was going to be offered, instead of a collection. At this point I want to say I have no Republican sympathies one way or the other. I don't understand politics. I only know that there have been injustices on both sides and I have tried to keep an open mind.
I heard on the news that J. McDade’s body would be released on Thursday, 21st November, and would be flown back to Ireland. I therefore assumed that the funeral would be on Friday. My brother-in-law told me he would give me the fare. So on Thursday, 21st November, I went to Gerard Hunter’s house at about 11.00 a.m. He told me he had not got the fare yet, but expected some of the others who were going would lend him it. We called at Walker’s house, who was sorting the Mass Cards out to bring to the Church to be signed. We went with him to the Church. He left them in and he left us to go to work and told Gerard he would try and get the fare for him. Hunter and myself decided to go to Digbeth, where coaches were laid on for anyone who wanted to go to Coventry with the funeral party. We called to Hunter’s cousins’ house on the way there and saw Mrs. McDade. Our own wives were there. Our wives went on home and we carried on down to the Irish Centre in Digbeth. The coaches were cancelled so we had a pint and a bet on the dogs instead, and I won about £4. We left to go home and at the bus stop, Gerard said he would meet me in the Station about 6.30 p.m. to catch the train at 6.35 p.m. I caught the bus home and got the fare off my brother-in-law. My wife gave me about £4 herself and £5 which her brother gave to her to give to me as well and he gave me £5. I had £18 in all. I left the house about six o’clock after the news and caught a bus into town and arrived in the station about 6.35 p.m. but Gerard or no one else who I recognised was there. I looked all around the Station and couldn’t find him. As I looked in the Taurus Bar, which is in the Station, I noticed someone was watching me, but never gave it another thought. I decided to get a platform ticket and look on the platform. The reason for the platform ticket was in case Gerard wasn’t there and even if others were going over, I wasn’t going to go without him. There was no one who I recognised on the platform or the train and I came back up again and checked the time. It was 6.55, the time the train was to leave. I was on the verge of going back up home again when Walker, Hunter, McIlkenny and Callaghan arrived and asked if they were on time, but I told them that we wouldn’t have time to catch the train, as it was 6.58 on the station clock.
Walker handed me an overcoat to wear to save carrying it. I put a shirt and socks which were in a paper bag in his grip bag. McIlkenny was carrying a plastic suit case. Gerard and Callaghan had no luggage, Callaghan was not coming. We got our tickets after a bit of discussion about who would get Gerry’s. Three of us got returns and Walker got a single for Gerard. We went and had a drink in the Taurus Bar while we waited for the next train at 7.55 p.m. While in the Taurus Bar Gerard Hunter made two phone calls to Belfast and Callaghan bought a round of drinks, so did Walker, I gave Gerard Hunter £2. I noticed again the person I mentioned earlier who I thought was following me. He was in the bar while we were there and I identified him later as Detective C…… but at the time I thought it was too far fetched to say anything to the others. Hill arrived about 7.45 just as we were going to leave to go to the platform. He hadn’t time for a drink, so I gave him what was left of mine. We left the Bar, went to the platform and boarded the train. Callaghan seen us off. We had a game of cards, Don, changed at Crewe and arrived at Heysham. As we passed through the ticket barrier we were directed to a table where Special Branch were looking through people’s luggage. We were asked if we had come from Birmingham, and were travelling together and we told them "yes." We were asked to wait to one side for a moment while the other passengers were cleared first. Hill was taken into the Special Branch Office beside the table and we were asked to go with two policemen to the Railway Police Office, where we showed our identity and were searched. We gave our addresses, from where we had come and were going and they cleared us and let us through the barrier again. We thought they were still checking up on Hill, as he had no I.D. with him. So we waited on the Dock ready to board when they were finished with him. While we were waiting one of the Special Branch Detectives was chatting with us. Then another came through the barrier and told everyone that bombs had gone off in Birmingham, killing and injuring people. A few minutes later, I saw Hill being taken off the boat (we didn’t know he was already on the boat), and took him to the police office. A little later the boat pulled out and then we were asked to go for forensic tests on our hands to eliminate us from their enquiries and we agreed. We were taken to Morecambe police station and put in separate rooms. Walker entered the first room and I the second, which was the Matron’s Room. There was a toilet with wash-hand basin and mirror in it. About an hour later, Detective I…… came into the room and asked why I was going to Belfast and I never mentioned the funeral, as we were in a vulnerable position.
About 3.00 a.m., Dr. Skuse arrived and so did the Birmingham police. There was some police outside in the corridor, talking about what happened in Birmingham. Some time later, I…… took me to have my hands tested by Dr. Skuse, the forensic chemist. He swabbed my hands and asked me to wash them and swabbed them again. After I had dried them, he said the second was only water. I was taken back to the Matron’s Room, where I noticed Sergeant W…… standing outside. I was given a magazine to read, (I think this was for me to think there was a plant). About three hours later, W…… and D.C. F…… , came into Matron’s Interview Room. This was between about 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. I was in my own clothes and carrying the overcoat over my arm. W…… entered first, then me, and F…… behind me. We passed through the C.I.D. waiting room and as I entered the interview Room, F…… punched me on the back of the head, which sent me stumbling forward and then both set about me. I tried to protect myself with the overcoat but this was pulled out of my hands and threw in a corner. They were making sure not to hit me in the face. While this was happening, they were shouting "you dirty murdering bastard. We got jelly on your hands." My jacket was trailed off and I was bundled into a chair where I was subjected to being punched on the arms and kicked on the legs and thighs and hips while they shouted abuse at me. I was forced to put my hands flat out on the table and F…… took handcuffs out and put them on his hand like a knuckle duster and brought these down on the back of my right hand as W.…. was telling me they had come from the scene of the bombings and there was bodies all over the place and saying I had done it because there was jelly on my hands. After about half an hour, they told me their names and started to interrogate me, asking me my movements the night before. I told them about leaving the house at 6 p.m. and getting to the station and about the others arriving. They asked what they were carrying and I told them a grip bag and a case. They asked what they were made of. I told them a kind of plastic and they started on me again, saying I had told them the others had been carrying plastic bags, and when I said I hadn’t, I was punched and told that both of them heard me and there was two of them and only one of me and their word would be believed. I kept saying I didn’t say that. Then they asked me what happened next. I told them we got our tickets and went for a drink, and they started on me again, shouting - "What pub did you go to." I told them we never went to a pub, we went to the Bar inside the station, and they shouted that I said that we went to the pub just outside the station. I kept saying that I hadn’t said that, they kept saying I did, and then they asked me did I know the pub just outside the station, and I asked did they mean the Mulberry Bush. They punched me again on the arms and side of the head shouting that I even knew what pub had been blown up and telling me that they had enough on me, saying I had told them the others had carried plastic bags into the station and I had went to the Mulberry Bush with them, and they had an expert who was going to say that there was jelly on my hands, and on Hill, and that was the truth, and kept saying "that’s the truth, isn’t it." I kept denying it.
Then W….. left the room and F..…. told me he would not hit me while he was on his own, and told me to just listen, and started to explain how he had 20 years experience and even if I hadn’t done it they were going to fix it, that I would be done for it. Then he started telling me he could even make it look like I was in the IRA and had squealed on the others, and the IRA would even believe it and do me in. I told him the IRA would know I wasn’t one of them, but he said, "No they don’t, the IRA doesn’t know everyone who is in it." Then he started telling me they were going to do me in themselves by putting handcuffs on me and throwing me from the car on the way back to Birmingham and they would get away with it by saying I jumped. He said, just think at 60 m.p.h. it would be like getting a bullet in the head, and they would probably get a medal for it even so.
W…… returned and told F…… that they had found the Mass Cards in Walker’s bag, but said there was none from me, and they started asking about McDade and if I was going to his funeral too, but I never answered them because there was a Mass Card from me and my wife.
Then they started a different approach, telling me there was a mob outside my home ready to lynch my wife and children and the only thing that was saving them was because the police were there searching it, ripping the floor boards up, and unless I admitted what they said was the truth, they would call them away. I told them they couldn’t do that, and they said that the police there couldn’t stay forever, and my name and address would be in the papers the next day, but if I told them what they were referring to was the truth, they would get my family cut safely. They said that if I told which of the others had planted the bombs, they would only do me for conspiracy and I would only get 5 - 10 years. I fold them none of us had done it. They were saying - "Well how did you get the jelly on your hands?" I told them there couldn’t be any on my hands, and they were asking me did I touch Walker’s bag, I told them "no" - this was earlier on.
Another Detective passed through the room twice and punched me on the side of the head, and on the second occasion, he said to them, "give him to us," but he went on out of the room, and F…… said, "If we give you to them, they will make us look like angels," and started to rough me up again, shouting, "You know the truth," and "Why don’t you save your wife and kids," and as W…… punched me on the side of the head, (they had said earlier they would not mark my face), he pointed out of the window, which was from ceiling to floor, and shouted to F…… "Run down and catch him." F…… said, "He couldn’t take photos from down there." W said, "He has a long lens." F…… put two chairs, one on top of the other and ran out of the room. W pushed me into a corner away from the window. While F…… was out of the room, W…… was telling me he knew I was only on the fringes and why don’t I tell the truth and save my wife and kids, and so on. F…… came back and started on about the same thing about plastic bags. Then the other Detective, who came in before, looked in and said, "You might as well" or something like that, and he grabbed me by the hair and dragged me into the C.I.D. Waiting Room, shouting, "You’re dead, whatever happens, why don’t you save your wife and kids," or something like that. There were four others in there, one at each of the two doors. He let me go and they started to punch, hit and kick me, I doubled up and slid down the wall towards the floor. I was dragged up by the hair again and punched and kicked. I doubled up and slid down the wall a few times and was straightened up each time. As I was punched on the side of the head, the other side of my head hit the wall, and each time I was kicked in the stomach and chest. I doubled up. Then someone shouted, "Hold it." They dragged "me up and put my hands out-stretched on the wall. It was dark because the ones at the doors only had them opened about 6 inches. Then someone said, "OK." and another started saying, "stretch his bails, stretch his balls," and "do you hear that - you’ll never have sex with your wife again," was shouted in my ear. One of them grabbed my trousers, and I screamed "OK, OK," I had to say something ‘to stop them, for I could take no more. I was dragged by the throat back into the Interview Room. I was being choked as one of them was shouting, "Who was the sixth man," I got out "What sixth man?" I was then punched in the mouth, which cut and swelled my bottom lip, and he said, "The man with the glasses and green coat, (or possibly green car)." I said, "there was nobody with glasses." Someone shouted, "Throw him through the window." Somebody else shouted, "The one that stayed behind," and I said, "Oh! you mean Hughie," and he said, "Yes, we mean Hughie - what’s his second name?" I said, "I don’t know his second name, and again they shouted, "Throw him through the window - If the fall doesn't kill him, the crowd will get him, or we will, whilst he’s trying to escape." As they started taking the chairs away from the window, and dragged me over in front of it, I went hysterical, and started screaming and F…… shouted, "You know the truth -you know the truth," and I shouted something like, "OK, you’re right, I’m only on the fringes" or "I’ll say anything you want me to say." Then F….. and W….. pulled me into another room, larger than the others.
I was in the room, where they beat me up for about ten minutes only - the one where I was dragged in by the hair, and if it had been longer, they would have had to carry me out, for they kicked the excreta out of me in there. My trousers were messed.
When W….. and F….. pulled me into the larger room, I was in a state of terror and shock and in a kind of daze. They started to question me and started to take down notes and made me repeat what they had claimed earlier on about plastic bags and made me repeat after them some things that they were saying, and twisting others that I was saying, and threatening to give me back to the others. When W….. stopped, for it was him that was writing, he handed the notes to F….. , who read back to W….. in a kind of a story, which W….. wrote down as F….. dictated it to suit them. I didn’t know what exactly was in it. At the end of it W….. turned to me and said, "Jesus, I’m sorry - isn’t that right?" I never answered. F….. pulled the handcuffs out and I nodded and W….. shouted, "Well, say it" and I said it. Then the papers were pushed in front of me and I was ordered to sign them. They grabbed me to take me back in the other rooms for more. I had no resistance left, and I remember signing, but it wasn’t very clear what I was doing, I remember saying, "Don’t let anything happen to my family, you’ll protect them from the mob," and then W….. dictated something to me to write down at the end of that statement. The state I was in, I couldn’t spell and he spelt out practically every word. I didn’t know what it was. I was taken back down to the Matron’s Room again and changed my clothes. The others clothes and possessions were all over the place in plastic polythene bags, and I had to clean myself and wash myself down. I was given a coat, shirt and trousers to change into. When I had stripped, I could see I had dark red blotches all over my throat and had a large mark on it. My lip was swollen and cut and I think my left leg was cut. There was a plain-clothes policeman (E…… ), and a uniformed policeman (P…… ), in the room when I changed. They put my clothes into plastic bags also. Then I was put into a cell. A bit later I was taken. out and put in a car by W…… and F…… , to be brought back to Birmingham. There was no hold up, and I had a blanket over my head. F…… got out of the car and I could hear someone screaming and heard F…… shout, "Put a bullet in the bastard."
A little later, he got in and we were taken to Birmingham to Queen’s Road Police Station, and put in a cell. I had to stand up on a stone floor in bare feet. Late that night, I was taken upstairs by W….. and F….. They said to their boss, R…… I was told to sit down beside him. (Just before they took me up, I was told to stick to what was in the statement). He started to ask me questions and told me he would tear up the statement he had in front of him, what I had signed, if I told where explosives and other bomb making materials were being held. I told him I knew nothing about any explosives and told him he knew why I had signed that statement, and if it had been true, did he not think I would have already told. When I was taken back to the cells, I was threatened by W….. and F….. again. They said if I done that again they would give me over to the "heavy mob" again that’s what they called the ones who beat me up in the other room at Morecambe. Through the night, I was ordered to stand and then sit alternatively for periods of every 20 minutes or so. I tried to lie down, but I couldn’t. It was too painful and I was kept awake all night. On Saturday morning when it got light, I looked at my sides, legs, arms and chest and they were marked, black and blue, and I had a large bruise on the back of my hand. My chest also had a scrawl, (like when a child runs and fails and scrapes his legs). Later that morning, I had all my particulars about my wife’s name and when I came to England and when and where I was married. I also had my description taken down. Then brought and was finger-printed and put back in the cell. Later that day or evening, I was visited by three other detectives. When they came in they asked me where the jelly was being held, or something like that, and I cringed in the corner and they told me I would not be touched again, and I told them I didn’t know anything. One of them was B…… Two others came while they were talking to me and brought me to a room with Gerard Hunter in it. I was asked "Who is that?" I hardly recognised him. I was asked again. I told them, and they asked me to tell them what he was carrying when at the station the Thursday night. I told them he had nothing with him. I was pushed up against the wall and they said something about it being in the statement I had made. I said I knew it was, but it wasn’t true. They said something like "you made it, didn’t you," and I told them, "I had signed it, didn’t I." I can’t remember the exact words. As I was taken out, one of them said, "That was a great help, wasn’t it." I was brought back to the cells and some time on Saturday night I was given a pie and a cup of water, the first thing I had to eat since Thursday evening. I was kept awake the same as the night before and was told if I tried to talk to Hill, who was in the next cell, they would put the dogs on me in the cell. That night I heard someone screaming, "Leave me alone, I can’t take anymore," or it might have been the night before. On Sunday morning, I think, F…… came into the cell and told me all the rest had made statements except Hill and he would in the end, and said the others were saying, "I had done the Tavern in the Town." I didn’t believe him. He said that they had enough now to do us for it. I was charged at about 2 p.m. I had my photo taken about between 12 noon and 2 p.m. We were taken to the lock-up in Steelhouse Lane sometime later and put in a cell where I had to stand until I was told I could lie down. Late that night, I couldn’t sleep, I was too frightened. On Monday morning I was given a cup of tea and a sandwich and allowed to wash, but received abuse and as I washed, someone held a string made into a hangman’s noose close to my face.
Shortly before we appeared in court, Mr. Gold, a Solicitor, came into my cell, and I showed him my chest and started to show him my sides, but he told me to sit down and not to worry, that he had got to get down some legal particulars first and then he left. He was in a hurry and said something about "under duress." We were taken to a large cell under the court. Then the Crime Squad took us up one by- one to the court. F…… took me up and held me tight by the arm and threatened me not to start shouting in court, which was the last thing on my mind. I should nave, now that I think back. We were taken to Winson Green Prison in a large van, and It was overheard, "Wait to you see the reception waiting for them at the Green." When I arrived I was thrown from the van by one of them and heard F…… say, "He’s alright" and started to laugh. I received other injuries shortly after this as is already known. I was examined by the prison doctor a bit later, but he never gave me a thorough examination. He just looked me over and put down only some of my injuries. Three days later, a doctor was sent to see me by Mr. Gold, but it seems that he came too late to do any good, or so I’m told. I identified K…… , B…… and M…… as three of the Detectives who beat me up in the room at Morecambe, but am not too sure about M…… and the others. Another was stocky, like a boxer, with broken nose. Some of these events may not be in the exact order, as I have wrote it mostly from memory, and there are some periods in the events I can’t recall.
P.S. My conscience is clear of the atrocities of which I’m accused of, and pity the people whose conscience is not clear and wonder how they will live the rest of their lives with it on their minds.
Signed: W. POWER
I was born in Belfast, a member of the Catholic community. I was educated at Catholic schools. I went to the same school as James McDade and he was a good friend of mine. It was St. Gabriel’s Secondary School. I left school at 15 and obtained a job in a linen mill, then as a messenger boy, and then worked in a bakery as a labourer. I came to England when I was 17 years of age and have always lived in Birmingham since then. This was in July, 1963, approximately.
Soon after coming to England I met my wife, Sandra. We were married in February, 1966. We have three children; Robert aged 8; Anthony aged 7; and Tracey aged 4. We have lived at 96 Wyrley Way for the last six years. This is a Council property and we have lived in it since it was built.
My mother, Mrs. H. Hunter, still lives in Belfast at Glenview Street, Belfast 14. My two brothers also live in Belfast. My father died on 1st October, 1974. I went to Belfast on 2nd October to attend his funeral and stayed until 8th October. Prior to that, in August I had taken the wife and children to Belfast because my father wasn’t too well then and I thought it would be the last chance for the children to see their grandad. Prior to that I hadn’t been to Northern Ireland for three years.
I am a painter by trade and have worked fairly regularly. At the time of my arrest I was unemployed, but had only been unemployed since 30th September, 1974. Prior to that date I had worked at Garness and Pearson of Handsworth, Birmingham, for 5 and a half months. I had left the job following a dispute over bonus payments. McDade was working with me as painter at Garness and Pearson for three weeks up to 30th September. I had in fact got McDade the job. I had known that McDade’s brother had been shot in Belfast about four years ago and that McDade’s brother had had strong connections with the IRA. I had no reason to believe, however, that McDade, who lived in England, had any connections with the IRA, or with any bombing activities. I was surprised and shocked at the time of the incident in Coventry. Although I have Republican sympathies, I do not believe that the IRA campaign of bombing either in Ulster or England will achieve anything. When I heard of the IRA bombing at the pubs in Guildford, I was utterly sickened and revolted. I told my wife and my friends so.
I have two previous convictions, in 1963 I stole a motor car and was fined a total of £30.00, and in the same year for malicious damage I was fined £50.00. I have not been in trouble since, until my arrest for these offences.
Of the other accused, I have known Billy Powers the longest. He also went to school with me in Belfast. I have drunk with him in pubs and clubs in Birmingham for many years. Richard McIlkenny comes from the same district as myself in Belfast. I met both Walker and McIlkenny at the Crossways public house in connection with the raffle I shall mention later. Paddy Hill I met in the same way. I don’t know Michael Sheehan very well. He was also involved with the raffle and helped John Walker organise the dances at the Crossways. James Kelly I don’t know at all. Michael Murray I know only slightly. I have never had much to do with him.
Early in 1973, together with John Walker, Paddy Hill and others, I tried to organise a Don Team at the Crossways public house to play in the Birmingham Don League. This is a card game. There was no room available at the Crossways, however, on the Sunday dinner hour that the Don League played in Birmingham. All the rooms were taken by other clubs, etc., and the idea never got off the ground. Before we discovered this, however, we had already decided to organise a raffle to raise funds for this Don team. We raffled something in the Crossways public house.
We decided to continue the raffle and send the proceeds to a charity in Ireland which assisted relatives of internees. I was the Treasurer for the first six months. During this period I didn’t send the money anywhere. I accumulated it (I borrowed from it on a couple of occasions) and in the summer of 1973 John Walker took over as Treasurer. I understood that he was sending the money to Ireland, but don’t know exactly how the money was sent, or to whom it was sent. Soon after we started Richard McIlkenny started to help. His brother was interned at the time. Paddy Hill was a useful member of the team because he could sell more tickets than anyone else. - I also helped Walker organise dances at the Crossways, in order to raise money for the same cause. I think we had organised two dances in all at the Crossways and there was to be another dance in November, shortly after our arrest, but I understand that this was cancelled. Following McDade’s death I decided that I would like to go to Belfast to attend his funeral. On the Saturday after his death I discussed the possibility of going to Belfast with John Walker, and we went down to Power’s house. He wasn’t in. We talked to his wife. Asked if he would do a collection for McDade’s widow at Hardy Spicer’s. Went to "Lancaster" and other pubs on Castle Vale to organise collections for McDade. He was well known down there.
On the Sunday dinner hour, Walker and I saw Powers get off the No. 28 bus. We discussed a collection. He said there was a collection already for another man who’d died. I asked Powers if he was going home - he said, if he could afford it. I said it would look good if all McDade’s mates went. Walker and I were on our way to play Don at Castle Vale. We thought at that time that the funeral would probably be on the following Saturday. I went to see McDade’s widow on the Sunday afternoon and understood that those were the arrangements they were hoping to make. My wife and I were asked to put up his relatives for a few days - we put up three of his relatives. They stayed just one night (Sunday) with us, then went up North to McDade’s brothers.
We thought that we could probably go over on the Friday night boat and come back on the Sunday. I told Walker I would try and raise the money to pay for my fare. Walker told me then that if he picked up enough money that week he would lend me the money if necessary, at least to pay for a single ticket. I was unemployed and obviously short of money. On the Monday lunch time at the Crossways I again saw Bill Powers and Walker. I arranged to go to St. Chad’s Cathedral with Walker the following morning to buy some Mass cards. We bought about one dozen from the Cathedral shop and had them signed in the Crossways.
We went again Wednesday morning and bought some more. We bought two from the religious bookshop in Corporation Street and the rest from the Cathedral. We had these signed at the Crossways as well. We had about 20 altogether.
On the Thursday, 21st November, I stayed in at home until about 11 o’clock, when Bill Powers called for me. We decided to go and see Walker to tell him that we understood the funeral was to be on the Friday and that we would have to go that night if we were to get there. We went to Walker’s house. We had seen Walker in the pub earlier in the week and we knew that he was working afternoons and that he would be in. I told Walker I hadn’t got the money to go. He told me he would see what he could do, but couldn’t promise anything. Powers said he could raise enough money to go. We decided to go to Father Ryan’s at St. Margaret’s and St. Mary’s Church on Perry Common Road to have the Mass cards signed by him. I had forgotten to bring the cards I had, and we had to go back for these. When we went to Father Ryan’s house only his housekeeper was in. She told us to leave the cards and call back about 5 o’clock. Walker said that he would call back for them. We separated from Walker. We met Hughie Callaghan and Tommy Trainer. They told us they were going for a drink. Then Powers and I went to the house of my cousin, James McLouglin (no relation of the McLoughlin recently convicted of bombing), 4/11 Holland Park, Aston. Mrs. McDade was staying there. My wife was there and Mrs. Nora Powers, and many other people who knew McDade. Sandra had gone down to see about the kids to see if she could help. Mrs. Powers gave me 40p. Neither my wife nor Mrs. Powers intended to go to Coventry.
Powers and I then went down to Digbeth with a view to catching the bus to Coventry, where McDade’s coffin was being taken from the Coroner’s office. We understood that Sinn Fein were organising some coaches. We hadn’t enough money for the return fare. When we got there we discovered there were no coaches at all. We met Tucker Kerr and Joe Tier, but they went to Coventry by Midland Red bus. We went into the "Little Bull," a pub in Digbeth. We both had a light and bitter. We talked to two Irishmen whom we didn’t know and who bought us a drink.
We went into a bookmaker’s shop nearby, Joe Coral’s. Powers is gambling mad. There was only dog racing. He placed a 15p bet on the dogs in Trap 2 and Trap 4, Paul’s Pride and Blue Bass. He was lucky and won a total of £7.50 or thereabouts. He placed one more bet at Coral’s, but lost. We then went to City Tote bookmakers further up Digbeth towards the Bull Ring Shopping Centre. We lost about £3. Powers offered to split the £4, but I refused. Powers went home; we agreed to meet at the station to catch the five to seven train. I went straight home and by this time it was about 4 o’clock. I peeled the potatoes. The kids came home from school and we watched television and had some tea. At about 5.30 p.m. John’s son, Sean, called at the house. He’d come to collect the red/brown holdall that I had borrowed from him in October when I attended my father’s funeral. Sandra had mended the zip. He told me to call up at his house. I said to tell his dad to call for me, before 6.30 p.m. I told my wife, Sandra, that I was going to Belfast and that I thought that John Walker and Richard McIlkenny would be lending me some money to buy a single ticket and that my mother would pay for my fare back. I got ready and at about 6.20 p.m. McIlkenny, Walker and Callaghan came to the house. I gave Walker two pairs of socks and a shirt, which he put in the holdall he was carrying. My wife gave McIlkenny his trousers -she’d altered them for him. I collected an overcoat from upstairs which a friend of mine, Louie Chapman, had left at our house. He had gone back to Belfast about three months before. He had been staying with us and he had left his overcoat behind; he thought he’d be coming back. Just after we left the house, my two sons, Robert and Tony, came running after me and gave me a pound that Sandra had sent for me. They caught us up on the Ridgeway. We caught a bus on the Ridgeway near to the junction with Gipsy Lane. It was a No. 6, I think. We went into town on the bus and got off in Colmore Row, by the Cathedral. As we were getting off the bus there were two or three Jamaican girls trying to push their way to the front of the queue. The driver told them to get to the back.
We crossed the Churchyard and went down the narrow pedestrian passageway which runs past the Windsor pub, (I understand it is called Needless Alley). We went up the ramp into the shopping centre and down the escalator. As we came down the escalator I could see that Bill Powers was waiting for us near the bottom. He said: "You’re late, we have missed the train." The indicator board above the ticket collector’s point changed and we obviously thought that we had missed the train. We went straight over to the ticket office and Walker, McIlkenny and Powers bought return tickets. Walker then went back and bought me a single ticket. Walker had been carrying the overcoat. He gave this to Powers, who had no coat. Powers gave Walker the brown paper bag he was carrying. Walker put this in his holdall.
Callaghan suggested that we should go and have a drink in the "Mulberry Bush" pub. I said that we might as well go and drink in the bar on the station concourse by the rail bar.
We went in there and stood by the first pillar just inside. There were no empty tables at that time. Callaghan bought the first round of drinks, three lights and bitters, a pint of bitter and either a pint of Guinness or a pint of mild, I am not sure which. There were two coloured girls serving behind the bar. I remember that there was a fairly young couple sitting in a corner. They seemed to be having some sort of tiff. The bloke got up and left her and she was crying. He came back, perhaps ten minutes later, and they seemed to kiss and cuddle. We had a little laugh about them in a sympathetic way. At about 7.10 p.m. I left the station bar on my own and went to the phone boxes on the station concourse. I rang Felix Doherty of Glenview Street, Belfast, who lives opposite my mother. Tel: Belfast 748071. My mother Isn’t on the phone. I told him I would ring back in about ten minutes time and asked him to get my mother on the phone so that I could tell her I was coming and so that she could arrange for us to be met from the boat by car. I went straight back to the rail bar and then back to the telephones at 7.35 or thereabouts. I spoke to Felix Doherty again and he told me that he hadn’t been able to contact my mother, that she was out. I asked him if he could arrange for us to be met from the boat. It is unsafe to travel across Belfast except by car. He said he would ask Diddler Dunlop to meet us. He said: "Ring back and I’ll let you know." I again went back to the station bar. By this time the others were sitting down round a table which had become empty. At about 7.40 p.m. Hill arrived. We walked into the bar and went to the counter to buy cigarettes. We were surprised to see him because we didn’t think he would be able to raise the money to come. I asked him where he got the money from and he told me that he borrowed it off the nuns.
Before Hill arrived, Walker bought the second round of drinks, I had a light ale. When Hill arrived McIlkenny told him we hadn’t got time to buy another drink. He had a sip out of Power’s glass.
About 7.50 p.m. we left the bar and went straight through the ticket barrier and down on to the platform. Walker and McIlkenny bought cigarettes, but we all met on the platform and got on the train together. The train left on time, we played cards and had an uneventful journey to Crewe. At Crewe I again rang Felix Doherty to check that Diddler Dunlop was coming to meet us. He confirmed the arrangement. We caught the boat train to Heysham. We walked together from the train towards the boat, except that Hill went slightly ahead of us. The four of us were stopped and questioned because we had come from Birmingham. We were taken to an Inspector’s Office and eventually to Morecambe Police Station, where we were further questioned. At first I denied that I was going to McDade’s funeral. I said I was going to visit my mother. I was asked if I would mind having forensic tests taken on my hands and I agreed. These tests were carried out in the early hours of Friday morning. I think it was about 3.00 a.m. when the Birmingham Police arrived.
About 7 or 8 o’clock I was given breakfast. Shortly after that I heard screaming. It sounded like Hill. I heard a voice say: "You bastard, you’ve got more on you than Judith Ward."
Two officers then came and took me into another room. They threw me over a polythene bag, told me to empty my pockets. They took note of all the odd items that I had got and took possession of them, and then I was told to take off all my clothes. I was standing there completely naked. They put the clothes in the plastic bag and then gave me a shirt and a suit to put on. I had no shoes or socks.
They took me into a cell. Then I was questioned by two plain clothes officers, one would be about 40 (J.... M....), and the other one about 50 (G.... R ....) M.... had a gun in a holster strapped to his hip.
Neither police officer told me their names, but I have recognised them in the witness box. I was not cautioned either at this time or at any other interview until the time when I was formally cautioned and charged by Chief Superintendent R.... This interview lasted about half an hour. Almost as soon as they came into the cell they started to hit me. R.... slapped me across the mouth and punched me in the face and stomach and on the side of my head and pulled my hair. He banged my head on the wall.
I told them of my movements on that day. and much of what they have recorded as having been said by me is correct. However, I didn’t say that McIlkenny and Walker went to the Little Bull with me. I told them that I went with Powers. I had told them that I had been to Walker’s house in the morning. I didn’t tell them that I met Walker at the station, but rather the truth as contained in this statement. It is, of course, possible that I became a bit confused because of the way they were hitting me. M.... went out and came back a few moments later and said: "What about the other bloke?" I said "Who?" They said: "Hughie Callaghan." I told them that Callaghan had been with us and came to the station. I didn’t tell them Callaghan’s address because I didn’t know it; all I knew was that he live on the No.5 bus route. I had never been to his house. I couldn’t have told them the address of Forgings and Pressings because I didn’t know it. All I knew was that it was off the Witton Road. I certainly didn’t say that we arrived at the station at half past six. I told them we arrived just before 7 o’clock and it was because of that that we missed the five to seven train. I cannot remember being asked about who purchased the tickets at the station, but I certainly didn’t say that I got my own ticket. When I was asked about this I told them that Walker had purchased my ticket.
I was certainly not awkward or cheeky with these police officers. They were assaulting me and I was as frank as I possibly could be. I didn’t say: "Bloody questions, I’m fed up with them." When I was asked about McDade I told them: "I was shocked when I discovered that he had died in the bombing; I didn’t know he was in the I.R.A." I didn’t refuse to answer questions at this stage.
When the Mass cards were mentioned, I told them that my wife had signed our card. I told them that I was going to the funeral because McDade was a Catholic and that I wanted his soul to rest and that I had been a friend of his.
I didn’t spit at R...., nor did I strike him. I didn’t shout: "You killed Jamie, you killed Jamie." Nor was I sobbing and shouting. I didn’t lose my temper.
I knew that Hill was interviewed before me because while I was waiting in the cells I heard Hill screaming. I heard him say quite distinctly:
"You’re breaking my arm." I heard M.... say quite distinctly: "You’ve got more on you than Judith Ward."
There was an incident when I landed on the floor. I was hit and knocked to the floor and kicked in the stomach. M.... then went out and I was left alone with R.... R.... continued to pull my hair and shook my head and kept hitting me with his fist on my head and body. He kept telling me that I had planted the bombs and that I was going to make a statement admitting it. He left to go and have his dinner; he told me to admit it when I returned.
Much later on, perhaps as late as 6.00 p.m. (it was dark), on the Friday, I was taken out of the cell with a coat over my head and I was thrown into a car. I sat in the car for a while and there was a box of clothing in the car with me. I was then transferred to another car and R.... got into the back with me. Before the car started to move R.... started to attack me. I had one hand strapped to the passenger grip about the door. M.... had done that. R.... punched me and then pinched handfuls of flesh and squeezed, scratching me with his nails. I screamed. This is what caused the marks on my chest which I showed to Mr. Anthony Curtis just before I appeared in Court for the first time. I could smell alcohol on R.... ‘s breath. He then went to sleep with his head on M .. . . ‘s coat throughout much of the journey to Birmingham. B.... was driving and M.... was sitting directly in front of me.
When we arrived in Birmingham I was taken to a cell at Queen’s Road Police Station by M.... and B.... As soon as I was put into a cell I was hit across the mouth by M.... and fell onto a bench. B.... then said: "Let me get at him, I haven’t f---- touched him yet." He jumped on top of me onto the bench and kicked me twice in the back. He told me to stand up. M.... hit me with his fist across my face again. They kept calling me names like murdering Irish bastard, and told me that I’d killed lots of people. Every time I denied it they hit me; I was shut up in the cell.
During the night I was kept awake. I recall the lights being switched on and off in the cell. I was made to stand up and if I sat down someone would Immediately come in and shout through the trap in the door to stand up. I may have managed to get a few snatches of sleep, but not much. My feet were freezing and I wrapped a blanket round them, but I was told to take it off I’m not sure by whom. During the night several people were brought round. They were peering through the trap in the door at me and I was introduced as one of the bombers. I remember someone saying: "He doesn’t look much like a bomber, does he?" During the first part of the night I was left handcuffed for about half an hour. The handcuffs were too tight and were cutting into my wrists.
On the Saturday morning a coat was put over my head by M.... and B.... I was kicked on my ankles by police officers in the corridors. I was fingerprinted and photographed. I was then taken to the interview room and questioned. The interview started very quietly. They never gave me their names, nor did they caution me. I told them I didn’t do it. M.... said that if I kept saying I didn’t do it he would hit me or worse. I was told to tell my story slowly so that B.... could write it down. I told them the truth and B.... was writing. Much of what he has written is correct. The discrepancies in detail are set out in my comments on pages 218 to 226 of M....’s statement.
They didn’t offer to read through what B.... had written. They didn’t ask me to sign it, nor to read it. Either M.... or B.... said: "That’s no good, let’s have the truth" or words to that effect. I would have had no objection to signing what B.... had written down after making minor amendments.
They then started to hit me. Every time I denied planting the bombs I was hit across the mouth or on the body. They said: "Your mates are covered in Jelly." I was interviewed for about 12 hours and there was never a break in the interview as suggested in the officers’ statements. I think I was interviewed until at least 10.00 p.m. During this time they ate meals in front of me, but gave me nothing. I remember B.... and M.... having pie and chips in front of me. M.... came in and B.... or M.... gave him a pound to go and get the pie and chips. They ate it with their fingers and must have known I was starving. M.... asked if he should get me anything and M.... said: "Give him f--- all."
During Saturday I was seen by several other officers beside M.... and B , including D.C. B.... (short detective with gingery hair). He told me that he had been to my house. He mentioned Tracy being on pheno barbitone. M.... came in some time on Saturday. He told me my house was surrounded by a screaming mob and that if I signed a statement they would move the family somewhere safe. He said: "Don’t you love your wife, don’t you care about your family?" I was led to believe that the mob was attacking my house. He also told me that all of the Irish in Birmingham were being attacked.
At another stage of the interview M.... screamed at me, banged his fist down hard on my hands, which were resting on a table linked together, and hit me across the face with his open hand. M.... came in, grabbed my hair and banged my head on the table. He shouted: "You bastard murderer." He showed me Power’s statement, which I read. Power was brought into the room. He looked in a terrible state. He was leaning against the wall. They called his name "Power" AND HE JUMPED: They asked him who I was and he refused to answer at first and then he said: "Gerry Hunter." They told him to tell me that he had made a statement, but he refused to answer the questions and then he said: "I signed didn’t I, leave me alone." He appeared to be glassy eyed and stared straight at a window throughout the whole of this encounter.
I remember saying that the statement they had shown me wasn’t signed. They said if they showed me the original I would rip it up.
I was never offered any refreshment at all during any of this interview, as alleged. I kept telling them: "I’ve been telling you the truth, what more can I say?" it reached the stage where since they wouldn’t accept what I said that I refused to answer questions. I was asked about the P.D.F. and I told them that Walker collected the money for this. I never said that this was connected with the I.R.A., but told them that it was for the dependants of people interned in Northern Ireland.
I was told that McIlkenny had made a statement, but I was never shown his statement as far as I remember. I certainly didn’t read it. I didn't break down and cry during the interviews. I remember B.... and M.... threatening to bring R.... back to interview me.
I was also shown a document which was alleged to be Walker’s statement, but it wasn’t read to me, nor did I have a chance to read it.
I remember B.... or M...., or one of the other officers, telling me that the phone calls that I had made were to the headquarters responsible for planning bombings to say that we were ready to go. The second call was to say that we had planted the bombs, and the third call which I made from Crewe was to say that we were safely on our way. I certainly didn’t say: "This was never meant to be, I had made the phone calls, everything, this was just never meant to be. I don’t know why I had anything to do with it. Please, God, forgive me." I didn’t say: "How can I do that, I’ve got to think of my wife and children. I know I am finished."
About 7.00 p.m. on the Saturday one of the officers, I’m not sure who, said: "You don’t like dogs, do you?" There had been one or two dogs about when we were brought into the station and they had obviously noticed my reaction to them. A uniformed constable brought a dog into the cell. ‘The dog was brought to within 6 inches of me. The officer kept saying: "Get him." The dog was barking and growling and straining on his leash.
Later in the evening H.... R.... and another officer, who could have even been senior to him, came to see me. This very senior officer, who I haven’t seen, said: "I have known murderers who put it out of their minds. Just say you’re sorry, you didn’t mean to kill anybody."
The interview finished, as I have said, late on Saturday night. It ended when M.... said: "That’s it, finished." I was then fed a small pork pie and a glass of water and I was allowed to have a wash; That is the first food I had had since breakfast on Friday morning. When I went for the wash the Sergeant who took me asked me what had happened to my chest. I haven’t seen this man in the witness box.
I was kept awake on Saturday night. I was made to stand up as before.
On Sunday morning, some time between 9.30 a.m. and 10.00 a.m., I was taken upstairs to an office. I remember having to wait on the stairs for four to five minutes. Officers in the station were kicking me and tripping me up. I was questioned by B.... and M.... and they kept asking me to make a statement.
Detective Superintendent R.... came to see me again. There was no violence on this occasion, but I was interviewed right up to lunchtime. I made no admissions. I was told that all the others had made statements and that all the others were making me Out to be the leader of the organisation. I wasn’t shown Callaghan’s statement or allowed to read it. They merely waved it in front of me. I didn’t call Callaghan simple minded, nor did I say: "He’s as much to blame as I am. Why couldn’t he keep his mouth shut? Why couldn’t they all keep their mouths shut? You’ll get no statement from me." Nor did I continue as on page 240 of M . ... ‘s statement.
I remember that B.... was sitting at a typewriter filling in forms. He required all sorts of information, like the school I went to, parents’ addresses, etc., previous convictions. I told them about my two previous convictions and I told them I was getting £27.05 on the dole, and I recall that they made comments about that.
There was a copy of the Sunday Mercury newspaper in the office. I didn’t ask to read it, I was told to do so. I didn’t start crying and shaking as alleged, nor did I say: "This was never meant to be. This was never meant to be. It’s all gone wrong."
Before I was charged by R.... he came to see me again. He said: "Now give me your word you’ll give us no trouble in Court tomorrow." I said: "What do you mean?" He told me that the last lot who appeared in Court had saluted the gallery and turned their backs on the Court. I told them that I would cause no trouble. He said: "You’ll recognise the Court?" I said: "Of course I’ll recognise the Court." M.... then pretended to have misheard me and said: "You won’t recognise the Court?" I said: ‘‘I will, I will, I’m not in the I.R.A.’’ B.... then waved the antecedent forms in front of me and said: "You’re going to be charged, you’ll be in Court in the morning." I certainly didn’t say: "We can’t recognise the Court, no I.R.A. man can."
On the Sunday evening I was taken to Steelhouse Police Station. I wasn’t stripped and examined as alleged by the Chief inspector. I had marks on my chest, a thick lip, and a bruise under my right eye.
During Sunday night I remember that J.... and C.... were on duty. C.... called me a bastard and told me I’d get no sleep that night. I lay down on the bench in the cell, but C.... immediately told me to stand up away from the bench. He told me to stand on tiptoe with my arms outstretched "like a crucifix." He said: ‘I’m going to crucify you tonight." I did as I was told. I don’t know how long I stood on tip-toe. He put his gun through the flap in the door and said: "if you don’t get back on tip-toe again, I’ll blow your f----- head off." Some time during the night he made a noose out of string and held it outside my cell. He then fixed it up to some thing and told me to look at it through the hatch in the door. I had to bend over with my hands on my knees and keep watching the noose. I don’t know how long I stood like this. Once C.. did tell me to sit down and I sat down and tried to sleep, but he then told me to stand up again.
On Monday, the 25th, I saw my solicitor in the cell about 8.30 and showed him the marks on my chest. He told me he’d arrange for a doctor to come and see me as soon as possible.
When I arrived at the prison I was viciously assaulted. This was shortly after 11 o’clock Early in the afternoon I was examined by Dr Harwood, but he gave me the most cursory examination and ignored most of the marks. I saw my solicitor the following afternoon, but because of threat made by prison officers refused to see the doctor he had arranged to see me.
I live at the above address with my wife and six children aged between 2 and 9 years.
I am a painter, and have been unemployed due to ill health for about a year.
I was still employed, though off work due to sickness, until August, 1974, when the doctor advised me to find another job, because the dirt and dust at my employment was affecting my health. I was suffering from sickness and dizzy spells. I had an operation for an ulcer about two years ago, and have not been completely fit since then. I was having tests at East Birmingham Hospital, with suspected gall bladder trouble. In August, 1974, I registered at the Labour Exchange, and asked for work other than painting at factories, because I would be uninsurable, due to my dizzy spells. There was no suitable employment available for me.
Since then I have been drawing £30 per week unemployment benefit, including £4 per week Supplementary Benefit. I have been looking for a job since August, but without success.
1960 - Birmingham Magistrates’ Court: breaking and entering: fine. Drunk and disorderly.
1963 - Birmingham Magistrates’ Court: breaking and entering: 3 months D.C.
1968 - Birmingham Magistrates’ Court: breaking and entering: 9 months suspended sentence.
1970 - Birmingham Quarter Sessions: Section 20, wounding: 9 months imprisonment plus 4 months of suspended sentence, consecutive.
I was released from prison 25/6/71, and since then have kept out of trouble.
Since my release from prison I have made a very great effort to keep out of trouble, and I take my wife out whenever I go to the pub, or otherwise I stay at home with the children and watch television or read books.
On Thursday, 21st November, 1974, I stayed at home with my wife and three of the children, until about 3.30 p.m., when I took Sean, aged 2, with me to Johnny Walker’s house on Perry Common. The journey, by two buses, took about half an hour. I asked Walker whether he had any money to lend me, and he told me that he had none, as he was going back to Ireland for the weekend. He did not say that he was going to McDade’s funeral but I gathered that he was. I told him that I was going back to Ireland too, to see my sick aunt, and I think I probably would have gone to McDade’s funeral because he was an old school friend of mine. Proof of my aunt’s sickness can be obtained from Mr. Frank Johnston, 141 Brompton Park, Ardoyne, Belfast.
From there, at about 4.15 p.m. I went to Mrs. Rose Murphy’s house, a ten minute walk away. I went to borrow the key to my wife’s money box, as we left it with her for safe keeping; my wife said that I could use some of our savings to pay my fare to Ireland that night. I still had Sean with me, and it was about time for his supper, so I stayed with Mrs. Murphy for only a minute or two, and then set off home.
I arrived home just before 5.00 p.m., made tea for the children, and had a bath. My wife gave me two pounds out of the money box, and I left the house at about 6.00 p.m., just after the news. I went to the Convent of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, about five minutes walk from my home. I have a very good relationship with the Sisters, as I have done odd jobs for them, for the old people whom they help, painting and decorating their homes, free of charge. They also teach my children religious instruction, as my children attend a Protestant school and have no Catholic education during the day. The Sisters took my wife and children away for a holiday in August or September, 1974. I had a loan from them once before, in about September or October, 1974, of about five pounds for the deposit on the hire of the television set. I repaid the loan within a week. On this occasion my wife had arranged that the Sisters should lend me fifteen pounds for my trip to Ireland. At the Convent, Sister Bridget gave me the money at about 6.15 p.m. I had my case with me, containing only clothing, and I went from the Convent to the Crossways public house, College Road, Kingstanding, where I arrived at about 6.30 p.m.
I spent about 45 minutes at the Crossways, and spoke to both barmaids and to the licensee, Mr. Noel Patrick Walsh, (statement herewith). I also spoke to Raymond Cook, (statement herewith), Brian Craven, (statement herewith), Jack Flynn, (statement herewith), Arthur Southall, (statement herewith) and Charles Thomas Jolly, (statement herewith).
At about 7.10 p.m., I asked Mr. Jolly if he would give me a lift into town in his car, but he was unable to do so, as he had the company’s lorry, which he ‘was unwilling to use for such purposes. Private investigator has got written statements to support this evidence of me being in the pub.
As I came out of the pub at about 7.15 p.m., in the pub car park I met Mr. Brian Craven and Mr. Arthur Southall as they were getting out of their car. We had a brief chat, and I told them that I was going back to Ireland. I left the pub premises at about 7.20 p.m., and went across the road to the bus stop, immediately opposite. I caught a bus, number 42K, almost Immediately, and I asked the driver whether the bus went all the way into town or stopped beforehand. I asked him to drop me off as near to New Street Station as possible. I alighted from the bus at Dale End, Birmingham city centre, at about 7.40 p.m. The driver directed me to New Street Station from there. I walked down Dale End, past Union Street and into New Street and along New Street, down Stephenson Place, and up the ramp into New Street Station and then down the escalator. I was in New Street Station shortly before 7.50 p.m. I went into the bar and saw Hunter, Walker, McIlkenny, Power and Callaghan there. I was about to buy a drink at the bar when McIlkenny came up to me and told me that it was too late, as it was a few minutes to ten to eight, and I would not have time for a drink. Power gave me a drop of beer in the bottom of his cup, and asked me whether I had a ticket yet. I said no, and he showed me where to go and buy my ticket. I did not know until then that McIlkenny or Power were going back to Ireland. I bought some cigarettes from the coloured barmaid in the Taurus Bar, and then went and bought my ticket at the ticket counter, but walked away, leaving my ticket on the counter. A tall man called me back to collect it.
I went straight down onto the platform, where the train was standing, and boarded it with the others at just before 7.55 p.m. The train was at the platform for about a minute before it pulled away. Callaghan waved us off, and he was left behind on the platform. We had a 25 minute wait at Crewe, before the next train, and we went into the buffet bar and had a cup of tea. I had a large steak and kidney pie and while eating it, it broke in my hands, which were covered with gravy. We played cards on the train from Crewe to Heysham.
At the port, I was the first to the ticket barrier, where I was asked by a Port Security official, W...., to step into a little office, where he asked me where I came from and my destination. He searched me and my case and was satisfied, and told me to carry on. I therefore boarded the boat, and want to the bar, where I had a drink. I assumed that the others would shortly be joining me there. I was there for about half an hour when the same Security Officer came to me and asked me if I would help with his enquiries. He was with a uniformed policeman and dog. He asked me if I had gone to the station in Birmingham with anyone, and I told him that I had been on my own. He asked me about someone running away from the station, and I told him that I had noticed no-one He told me about the bombings in Birmingham and that people had been killed, and said that Sergeant B.... would see me. Sergeant B.... came shortly afterwards, informed me of the explosions and apologised for any inconvenience, saying that I could catch the boat the next night. He told me that there were some policemen coming from Birmingham to interview me and that I would see them at Morcambe Police Station, where I was taken by two Lancashire police officers at about 2.00 a.m. The official who searched my case is named W.... He also took me off the boat. The two officers who took me to Morcambe and who took down all the details are named W.... and W…..
There I was asked by one of them where I had been that night before catching the train, and what time I had left the house. He also asked me how much money I had started with, and what I had spent it on. I gave a full and honest account to him. He asked me about my last job and why I had to leave it, and I told him everything. I was then left to sit on a bench outside some cells. I was permitted to go to the lavatory, and was given some cigarettes and a magazine to read. I was also given a book by one of the officers. I fell asleep for a while.
I did not see Detective Superintendent B.... J .... I.... either at 7.05 a.m. on Friday, 22nd November or at any other time. I had been questioned by the two Lancashire C.I.D. officers, one of whom had actually taken me off the boat and driven me to the police station.
I had been asked about the purpose of my journey earlier, before boarding the boat at about 11.00 p.m. on 21st November by the Port Security Officer. I had told him that I was going to see my grandmother and my aunt who was ill. I did not mention that I was going to McDade’s funeral, though I accept that I probably would have gone.
There was no such conversation as set out in Appendix D, page 9, either on the boat or at Morcambe, or indeed anywhere else.
Sergeant B.... came up to me as I was sitting on the bench at about 8.00 am. He said to me: "Soon you little bastard, soon." He then went away and later he took me to Dr. Skuse, who said that my hands were a bit greasy, and I told him that I had eaten a pie. He put some stuff on my hands and cleaned them. I was taken from there to another room and a Birmingham police officer and a Morcambe police officer, P.C. P...., were there. The Birmingham police officer said: "Don’t f... about, get stripped," He told me that it was for forensic examination that he was taking my clothes, which he then put into a bag. He gave me a suit and shirt, but no underwear, shoes or socks. Ten minutes later they brought me back to Dr. Skuse, who cleaned off my hands again. They put me in a corridor, and the Birmingham officer, Sergeant B.... grabbed hold of my sleeve and tried to twist my arm. I attempted to pull away from him and asked him what the rough stuff was for. He said: "You will find out in a minute, you little Irish bastard." He said: "Soon," and kept saying "Soon, you c..., you’ll know all about it."
I was interviewed by D. Constable B.... and Sergeant B.... I am not entirely certain which was which.
As soon as Dr. Skuse came out of the office, B.... and B.... pushed me into the same room and started beating me up immediately, punching, kicking and slapping me all over my body. They were screaming at me, calling me an Irish bastard, c...., f... pig, animal and other insults. They said that I was covered from heed to toe with gelignite and that I had twice as much on my hands as Judith Ward. They demanded a statement from me admitting the planting of bombs, and I refused.
They said I was going to make a confession admitting the planting of bombs and that I was in the I.R.A. They asked for the names of I.R.A. members and I told them I did not know and that I was not in the I.R.A. They kept punching me and pulling me around the floor by the hair, calling me a liar.
They asked me where the gelignite came from, and I told them that I knew nothing about it and had never seen it.
The more denials I gave the more I was hit.
They told me not to ask to see anyone as I might not see anyone again; they might just shoot me there and then. They said I had no rights and they demanded a statement from me, which I refused. I offered to make a statement saying that I was in the Crossways pub until 7.20 p.m. and that I had reached the station at about 7.45 p.m. They laughed and said that they would kick a statement out of me.
Each time I refused to confess they hit me, punched me, rabbit punched me on the back of my neck, hit me on the back of the head and arms and kicked me. Each time I fell off the chair they threw the chair at me and told me to get back onto it.
One of them said: "This is only the start of it. We’re leaving you a few minutes to think about making a statement. If you make a statement, everything will be O.K. and we’ll give you a smoke and do no more about it."
R.... left me and came back again a few minutes later and told me that if I did not make the statement they would continue with the treatment. They then continued beating me for an extremely long time. This beating lasted until 5.30, when I was taken by car to Birmingham.
During this time one of them left and came back about five minutes later, saying that I had been at Walker's that afternoon. I agreed and said I had been to see him to ask for a loan of money because I wanted to go back to Ireland to see my sick aunt. I told them Walker had said he was going home with Hunter for a few days. I told them that I had my two-year-old son with me and that I had only stopped at Walker’s for a few minutes and then I went to Rose Murphy’s house, obtained the key from her for my wife and went straight home, arriving at 5.00 p.m. They called me a liar. This treatment went on all day. The older officer said he would get me 30 years’ imprisonment and he did not care how he did it.
I could hear some of the others screaming, and I knew they were receiving the same treatment.
The older officer, B...., told me that no-one knew I was there and nobody would know what had happened to me. They might shoot me before I reached Birmingham.
At some time during the day an officer looked into the room and told them to keep it quiet for ten minutes or so as there was someone visiting the station.
At about 5.30 p.m. they took me out and put a coat over my head and placed me in a car. My left hand was handcuffed to the roof of the car.
The younger officer, B...., was driving the car and the older one, B...., was in the back with me. Another officer sat in the front passenger seat, inspector M....
B.... told me to sit on the edge of the seat and to keep my legs wide apart. He rammed a truncheon up into my testicles and started whipping me with the leather thong on the truncheon around the testicles. He also kept punching and hitting me. He was shouting that I would not make any more Irish bastards. The officer in the front, M...., took out his gun and hit me on the head with it. He put it into my mouth and pulled the trigger. He did this on two occasions and, of course, I was not aware that the gun was not loaded. He kept laughing after doing this. He said to the driver, B…: "Pull up on the motorway so that I can blow this bastard’s head off." All of the officers were laughing, and he put the gun to my eye and said that I was lucky that the first two were not loaded, but maybe the third one was. He pulled the trigger again.
The officer in the back, B.... had been smoking and when he had finished he stubbed out his cigarette or cigar on my bare feet. When I pulled my feet away he hit me. He told me that I was going to sign a piece of paper saying that I had been well looked’ after by the police and that no-one had hit me or abused me in any way.
I told him that I was signing nothing, and he became highly excited and started punching me on the head and kidneys, with the officer in the front passenger seat turning round from time to time and punching me too. They also called my wife and kids names.
This went on all the way to Queen’s Road, Aston Police Station. The older officer, B...., pushed me into a cell, undid the handcuffs and punched me in the jaw. He said he would be back the next day. As I fell into the corner he kicked me in the ribs and told me that they had not started on me yet. I was not allowed to sleep and they gave me nothing to eat or drink or smoke all day Friday. On Friday night I was kept awake nearly all night and threatened by someone with a gun, also insulted about being Irish.
On Saturday morning, early, the younger officer, B came down for me in the cells and took me up to the interview room, where the ether officer, B.... was waiting. They asked me If I had had time to think things over and whether I was going to make a statement. When I refused they started to work me over again.
Another officer entered and said the following. His name is F.... They promised that they would look after my wife and children for me. They said the reason why they had been delayed in leaving Morcambe on the previous day was because Power was finishing off his statement and they were making arrangements to take Power’s wife and children to safety. If I made a statement they promised that they would do the same for my wife and children. They said that if I refused to make a statement I would receive the same treatment as before - I could have it the easy way or the hard way.
I said that I was not making a statement admitting the planting of bombs because I had not done it.
The older officer, B...., said to me: "I don’t care whether you planted the bombs or not. I’ll get you one way or another. if you don’t admit planting the bombs I shall make sure the I.R.A. know that you squealed and they will shoot you. If they don’t shoot you they’ll take it out on your. wife and children as well."
They started beating me up again. One of them punched me on the back of the head and my nose came down and hit the table and started to bleed.
After a while they stopped beating me and said they were going for dinner and they would be back for me.
I was taken back to the cell and brought back afterwards to a different room, where the older officer, B...., told me that my wife had made two statements against me. The first was lies, and she had returned to the police station of her own accord, told them that the first statement was untrue, and had given a second statement saying that I was in the I.R.A. and had gone to meetings with McDade and McLoughlin and others at the White Horse pub. I told them that I was only there once with my wife and that McDade was there singing, but he was not in my company; nor was McLoughlin. He said that my wife had told him that I was always beating her up and beating the children and calling them English bastards. I told him that this was untrue, and he would not let me read my wife’s statement, only showing me her signature on the bottom.
He also read parts of Power’s statement, but again would not let me read it for myself.
Again they asked if I would make a statement, again I refused and received more beatings. This time they were shouting abuse about my wife, saying that she was an I.R.A. whore and an Irish bastard. I told them that my wife was a "Brummie" and one of them said: "it makes no difference, if she’s married to you she’s no good. She’s still an I.R.A. bastard and so are your children. All the I.R.A. are f…… her and she will end up with all the blacks f…… her and she will be on the game for them." They then started calling my children names.
They were trying to provoke me into hitting back or trying to escape. They said: "We don’t care if you try to break out. If you do we’ll just shoot you."
The younger officer, B...., kicked me a few times on the right thigh and kneed me in the left thigh and my legs went numb. I fell to the floor and the older officer, B.... started dragging me round the room by the hair, kicking me. He put a lighted cigar to my eye and said: "I'd love to blind you, you bastard." He kicked me a few times and told me to get on the chair. The chair was lying on the floor, and when I picked it up he said: "You’re threatening to hit an officer."
The older officer, B.... said: "You know we’ve got you and you know you were covered with gelignite. The others have made statements. They told us you made bombs and they told us you were carrying them in a white plastic bag. Don’t worry about those f…… in there. They’re all blaming you in their statements, so why don’t you get your bit in and put the blame on them?"
I still refused to make a statement.
From time to time they would stop the beatings and try to reason with me, telling me that the others had made statements and had eased their consciences by doing so. They asked why I did not do myself and make a statement, as I would feel better afterwards. This would be about 3.30 on Saturday afternoon.
They put me downstairs in the cell and left me for about an hour. During that time I spoke to Power through the wall, as he was in the cell next to mine. I asked him if he had made a statement and he said that he had been forced to do so and that he had admitted planting the bombs. I told him that I had not made a statement and had no intention of doing so.
I was again interrogated, and it was dark by then on Saturday night. They continued with the same procedure of threats and beatings. They told me that Callaghan had been in and he had made a confession. I still refused to make a statement, and they put me down in the cells. I was warned that if I was caught talking to anyone through the cell walls they would set a dog on me. I was then left alone until Sunday morning. Again on Saturday night the same treatment as Friday night - no sleep and plenty of abuse and threats.
It was not until Saturday night that they gave me a cup of water and a small pork pie. This was the first time I had eaten since Thursday night. This was after the third interview.
On Sunday morning Detective Sergeant B.... interviewed me. He offered me a cup of tea and sent out for some. He told me to sit down and asked me if I was going to make a statement. I told him I did not know anything about the bombings and he lost his temper and said: "If you keep saying that I will knock the f... out of you. I don’t believe in this beating of prisoners and I have no intention of working over you. If you don’t want to make a statement just say so and that’s it. We know all about it. There is a statement by Callaghan, read it."
He gave the statement to me and I read it and told him I had nothing to say. B.... told his colleague, M.... who was present to type out particulars of me, which he started to do when we were interrupted by another officer. B.... said they had to leave me, but if I wanted to make a statement I could ask for him or make it to someone else. The two officers then left me, and two other officers wrote down personal details about me. I was taken back to the cells and left until just before 2.00 p.m., when I was charged and cautioned. THIS WAS THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME I HAD BEEN CAUTIONED.
With regard to the trip to Bodenstown celebrations in June, 1974, I did go, but there was no I.R.A. involvement.
I had heard at the Crossways public house that there would be a cheap trip to Dublin for about twelve pounds. There were about 16 or 17 of us from this pub and we put our names down. I heard that there would be a Sinn Fein coach and the trip would be organised by that legal organisation. George Lynch organised this trip.
Hunter, Walker and a man called Lou Chapman and I all went (Chapman was the owner of the overcoat that Power was wearing at the time of his arrest).
I merely went along because it was a cheap trip and there would be plenty of drinking. As soon as I arrived in Dublin, I contacted William Kelly, my friend, and we went to his pub, the "Twanghan" at North Quay, Dublin. I spent the whole time with Kelly and his family, from Saturday until Monday night. We spent most of the time in the pub and watched the march past from the pub, and we were inebriated throughout the whole of the time. The Bodenstown celebrations were organised by the Irish Government and had nothing whatever to do with the I.R.A.
On Sunday I was charged at 1.55 p.m. and at 3.40 taken to Steelhouse Lane lock-up, where I was put into a cell. The blankets were removed and I was subjected to abuse and threats with guns. I was made to stand in the middle of the floor at attention for most of the day and night and I was not allowed to lie down and sleep.
Two officers have stated that they stripped and searched us. This is all lies. They are covering up for the brutality of the Birmingham police. They are all in the conspiracy to frame us. They are not interested in justice.
With regard to the forensic evidence, I can only say that I have never had any contact with nitroglycerine or ammonium-nitrate or indeed any substances connected with explosives. Neither, to my knowledge, have I been in contact with any fertiliser.
On the evening of 21st November, I was wearing: black shoes, green shirt, green trousers, blue jacket and carrying a small blue case.
My relationships with my co-defendants and McDade are as follows:
I first knew him back in Belfast when I was at infants’ school. I was a few years older than he was and we attended the same school. We did not maintain any contact, but we met one another by chance quite frequently as we lived in the same vicinity, and as far as I remember he lived around the corner from my home.
I emigrated to England in 1968 and as far as I remember I met him again in 1971. I had just come out of prison and I went into a pub at Bordesley Green one Sunday morning when by chance I met him in the pub, as he had been working as a painter at the Rover factory and was having his lunch there. We had a drink together and a chat.
My wife and I moved from the neighbourhood shortly afterwards and I did not see Gerard Hunter again until about Christmas, 1973. I happened on him in the Crossways pub, Kingstanding. Since then I saw him quite frequently at the pub. We had never arranged to meet, unless we had a game of cards together, until June, 1974, when I was banned from the pub for having an argument with the licencee’s wife.
From then I confined my drinking mainly to the Kingstanding Ex-Servicemen’s Club. Gerard Hunter used to come in occasionally, when we might have a drink together.
I recall that a couple of months before our arrest he went back to Ireland for his father’s funeral.
I am quite positive that Hunter had no connection with the I.R.A., from his attitude when we spoke about the situation in Ireland. It is possible that he was a sympathiser with the I.R.A., but I am sure that he played no active role whatsoever in the organisation.
There were perhaps half a dozen dances in the last year or so at the Crossways pub organised by the football team, dominos team and darts team. One of the dances was a benefit for Ray Burns, a local man from Kingstanding area who died suddenly leaving a family and several children. Most of the people who went to the Crossways pub attended these dances, and on such occasions I would meet Hunter and his wife.
Hunter and I were not involved in any political association, and we most certainly had no discussions about bombs or anything of that nature, except to discuss generally the atrocities which occurred in Ireland and in this country.
Although he remembers me from back home in Belfast, I do not recall him until I came to this country, when I moved to Hockley in 1971, and he lived about 50 yards away from me in Hospital Street. He and my father used to play darts together at the local pub, St. Mathias’s in Bridge Street West, Hockley, and they both worked together in the city at a printing works. I used to see him quite frequently as I often went to the same pub and played darts with them.
It is possible that he visited my parents’ home, but I don’t believe that he ever came into my house, nor I to his.
McIlkenny and my father used to organise the tote together for the local old age pensioners, and apart from these relationships with my family I used to meet him at the pub, the Crossways, as we both lived nearby. We did not arrange to meet, but would meet by chance at the pub, which we both frequented.
I do not think that McIlkenny had any relationship with the I.R.A. Not unnaturally, it is not a matter which one would broadcast in any event.
Often I would be at the Crossways pub with Gerry Hunter and Richard McIlkenny and Johnny Walker, (these two worked together), and Hugh Callaghan.
He comes from Derry, and I did not know him in Ireland. I first met him about Christmas, 1973, at the Crossways pub. He was a regular at this pub and I would frequently see him there by chance. We were not particularly close friends, merely acquaintances, and though we may have been in the pub together I cannot recall that we actually had a drink together. I think that he was quite a close friend of Gerard Hunter.
Unless I met him in the street or at the Ex-Servicemen’s Club, I cannot say that we had any close relationship.
I used occasionally to help Walker with his raffles at the Crossways public house. There were approximately seven different draws going on at the pub, of which Johnny Walker organised just one. Prizes were lighters, pocket lighters, cutlery sets, wireless sets and other items. There were approximately two draws per week, for which there was only one prize each.
The cards were printed with the heading "Crossways Don Club," which was organised by Sinn Fein. Each card had 48 numbers and subscribers chose a number. Numbers were then drawn out of a bag. So far as I was aware, there was no I.R.A. connection with these draws. Some weeks I would help Johnny’ in collecting money and subscribers, but I always gave the money to Johnny Walker.
I did not know him from Ireland, but I met him first in or about May, 1974, at the Crossways pub. He was not a regular there, but he would occasionally come in for a drink and, if we wanted to, we would go down to the Ex-Servicemen’s Club together and have a game of snooker.
He was definitely not a member of the I.R.A. I know this because he and I share the same views. Neither he nor I are in any way sympathisers.
I did not know him in Ireland and first met him, so far as I recall, at the Crossways pub in or about May, 1974. Again I would only meet him possibly by chance at the Crossways pub. I have never had a drink with him, but occasionally we would be in the same card game together. I have only met him two or three times at the pub and cannot say whether he had any association with the I.R.A.
We first met at about Easter, 1974, when Sheehan repaired my lodger’s car. We met about six times since then, by chance at the Crossways public house. Sheehan was not a regular drinker there as he usually went to the College Arms.
I have never met him until after our arrest.
We met on only about two occasions at the Crossways pub at lunch-times on Saturdays, on both occasions with Walker, after Murray and Walker left work.
McDade and I had known one another in Ireland, as school boys, but did not meet again until 1968, when we chanced to meet in Lozell’s. We next saw one another in 1971 at a pub in Bordesley Green. We did not meet again until early 1974 in the Crossways, where we exchanged greetings. Our next meeting was again at the Crossways on a Sunday morning about Easter time, 1974, when we chatted for about five minutes.
We met again at the Lozell’s Club, when I was playing snooker with Callaghan and McDade came in and we exchanged greetings.
That was the last time we had seen one another. We had no more than a nodding acquaintance, and had never discussed serious matters or politics.
McDade was very popular because he sang at pubs and dances.
I swear that this statement, which has been made by me of my own freewill, is true.
Signed: PATRICK JOSEPH HILL
8 Epsom Grove
Date of Birth: 22nd December, 1933 (age 41).
I was born in Belfast a member of the Catholic Community. I was educated at Catholic Schools and after leaving school worked as a delivery boy and in a Mill. I passed an exam to go to College, but for financial and other reasons was unable to take advantage of it. When I was 18, I joined the Irish Army and was in the Army for four years. I became a three star private cook and was eventually discharged in January, 1956 on compassionate grounds, after my father had a stroke. I used to work in the Officers’ Mess. After my father recovered towards the end of February 1958, I decided to come to England because I thought the work prospects there would be better than in Ulster. I came to Birmingham and since February 1956 have lived permanently in Birmingham. I have never been charged with any offence before these present matters and have never been before a Court before.
Since I come from the Catholic Community, I do have republican sympathies, but my feelings on the matter are not strong or extreme. Two of my brothers are married to Protestant girls and I have never felt any bitterness towards the Protestant Community in Ulster. It is true that two of my brothers have been interned in Ulster and because of this I have strong feelings against internment. Both of my brothers have now been released. They have never been charged with any offence and I know of no reason why they should have been interned.
Since I live in Birmingham I have had little contact with them however in recent years. One of my brothers, Anthony, was shot recently, (22/11/74), from a passing car. Man with him killed. Somebody opened upon him with a machine gun. I understand he will have a limp for the rest of his life.
I have never been a member of Sinn Fein and I have always been sickened by the news of bombings in Ulster and in this country. At the time of the Guildford bombings I was absolutely appalled when I heard and saw on the television what had apparently been done by the I.R.A.
I knew James McDade slightly, but wouldn’t regard him as a friend. He was much younger than me. I knew his parents in Belfast since he came from the same area. I saw him occasionally with Hunter in the Crossways. I might see him once in six months. He also used to sing at functions which I attended.
I have known Hunter as a drinking companion at the Crossways for about two and a half years. He is eleven years younger than me and he came from the same area of Belfast. I knew his parents well in Belfast.
From the 4th November, 1969, I was employed as a Millwright’s Mate in the Maintenance Department of Forgings and Pressings Limited, Birch Road, Witton, part of the G.K.N. Group. I worked for that company until the time of my arrest in November 1974. John Walker came to work at that company in August 1970, and I have known him since that date. For the last few years we have been good friends and have gone to work together when working the same shifts.
When working the afternoon shift, we often used to go and meet at the Crossways Public House and have a drink before going to work.
I have known Paddy Joe Hill for years. I went to school with two of his uncles. I’ve known him 17 years. I wouldn’t regard him as a close friend. He is the sort of chap who gets on with everybody. Quite early in 1974, I started helping Walker with the sale of raffle tickets to raise funds for the dependants of internees. Walker was the Treasurer. It arose from an attempt to form a Don League. There was a weekly draw at which prizes were given. I understood that Walker passed the profits from the raffle to a man called Murray who also worked at Forging and Pressings Limited. I never had very much to do with Murray. I spoke to him at work. Occasionally saw him in the Crossways. I used to sell tickets at the Crossways.
Although I drank in the Crossways Pub, my local pub was the College Arms on College Road and I used to go there more often. I never sold tickets in there, I was not asked to stop by the Licensee. I sometimes used to buy Irish Newspapers for some of my drinking companions at the College Arms at their request. It is untrue to say that I went round selling these papers. Naturally these people paid for the papers I bought for them.
I am a married man, my wife’s name is Catherine, and have six children. Ann Marie aged 17, Theresa aged 15, Martin aged 14, Sean aged 12, Margaret aged 9 and Siobhan aged 6.
Shortly after my arrest, it became impossible for my wife and children to stay in Birmingham because of the reaction of my neighbours to my arrest, and my wife and the four younger children are now living in Belfast. My mother is still alive, she lives in Belfast.
Of the eight people who are now being tried for bomb explosions in and around Birmingham, I know nothing. I may have seen one or two of them on occasions. Bill Power, I have only seen twice before. I don’t know him. He knew Hunter. Hugh Callaghan I have known for about two and a half years. My wife knew him well. He came from the same district in Belfast. Michael Sheehan I have known for about two years as a drinking companion at the College Arms and the Crossways, and in connection with the sale of the raffle tickets. I didn’t see him all that often. He helped Walker organise the two dances which were held at the Crossways Public House. I think this was in August, 1974. He and Walker were the main organisers of the dance which was to be held at the end of November at the Crossways, but which I understand was cancelled after our arrest. I used to sell dance tickets. I understand from my wife that he called at our house early on the Wednesday morning, (not the Thursday as reported by a neighbour). I was asleep. He called about the tickets. He and Walker occasionally had drinks with me at the College Arms. James Kelly I don't know at all. I met him once at a club in Green Lane, he was with Sheehan. Michael Murray worked at Forging and Pressings, but as I have said I didn’t know him very well, just friendly.
I didn’t go with Walker and Hunter on the Sinn Fein trip to Dublin for the Wolf Tone event. I had already had my holiday. I belonged to the Tote Club at the White Horse Public House in Newtown, New John Street West. I think I am the only Irishman in that club. This is a Sunday Club which meets and also holds a tote. The profits go to old age pensioners. I went on holiday with the Club on the 29th May, 1974 for a week. We went to the Isle of Man. There is a holiday organised this year to Blackpool. I go to the White Horse most Sundays.
When I heard of James McDade’s death in Coventry, I was shocked. I felt no sympathy at all for what he was doing, I was sorry that he was dead. I did feel sympathy for his parents in Belfast who I knew. On the following Sunday, or perhaps it was Saturday, at lunch-time, Walker and I were in the Crossways Public House after work. Hunter was there. Hunter was a good friend of James McDade. I think they went to school together. He wanted to go to attend the funeral if he could raise the money to go. Walker wanted to go, he knew McDade as a friend. I decided later in the week that I would also wish to go because of his parents. His brother had been shot by the British Army.
We knew very little of the arrangements that were to be made, but Hunter who knew McDade’s wife believed the funeral was to be on the following Friday in Belfast. We made no definite arrangements. Walker and Hunter thought the proper thing to do was to buy some Mass Cards and have them signed by people at the Crossways Pub who had known James McDade. As I have said, he was a popular man because he used to sing in pub dances. I knew nothing at all of his activities with the I.R.A. and as I have said I had no sympathy for his actions. Hunter was unemployed, but said he thought he could raise the money. No definite arrangements were made. It was by no means certain then that I would go.
No definite arrangements were made that week. I still thought we would be going on the Friday if we went at all. On the Wednesday night I went to work as usual. I was working the night shift whereas Walker was working the afternoon shift that week. I did see Walker in the College Arms, I think on the Tuesday or Wednesday at lunch time. I worked the night shift as usual on the Wednesday night and clocked out of work at 7.00 a.m. on the Thursday morning. I went straight home to bed. I can get home in about twelve minutes. My wife would have gone out at 8.30 a.m., but I was asleep by then. I woke up at 12 noon. Later I decided to go to the Crossways Pub for a drink. I got there about 1.15 p.m., Walker was there (Callaghan was also there) and he told me that he now knew that the funeral was to be on the following day, the Friday, and if we were going to go we would have to catch the boat that night. I told him I would definitely go with him If we could get our wages from work so that we could afford to pay the fare. I gave Walker the telephone number of Forging and Pressings and he went over to ring, but I then pointed out to him that it was before 2 o’clock and the office would be shut for lunch. We decided to go straight down to Forging and Pressings by bus. I had one pint of beer before going. We must have arrived at about 1.45p.m. or shortly after.
I waited outside the factory, I was talking to Michael a policeman on the gate, while John Walker went in to see about the wages. He came back and told me that we would have to come back in about half an hour when the money would be ready. We walked down to the Yew Tree Pub and had two pints of Guinness each, and went back just after 2.30 p.m. We both went in and saw the Shift Foreman, Mr. Martin Murrihy, and the Shop Foreman, Mr. Bob O’Dwyer, and both collected our wages. We spoke to no one else at all.
Walker had no black tie and he said he was going to go and call on Eddie Lewsley, Erdington, to borrow a tie. He also works at Forgings and Pressings. He is known as "father." He knows us both quite well. I went with him to Lewsley’s house where he borrowed a black tie and then I went on home. We were going to catch the 8.55 p.m. train to Crewe which would give us plenty of time to catch the connection for the boat train which came from London. I told Walker I would call for him about 6 o'clock which would give us plenty of time. We agreed that if Hunter hadn’t been able to raise the money, we would lend him enough to buy a single ticket. I got home about 3.30 p.m.
About half an hour later, Hugh Callaghan came to the house. He gave me a pound which he owed me, and started playing with the children. I told him that I was planning to go to Ireland. He said he would like to go, but hadn’t got any money. (He told me he might as well come to the station and see me off). He was unemployed. I made him some tea. He played with the children. When my wife came home from work about 5 o’clock, I told her that I was going to Belfast for the funeral. She sent Margaret to our next door neighbour, Ivy Horrocks, to borrow a suitcase. We had borrowed it before at the time of the funeral of my wife's father in Belfast. That was at the end of January or beginning of February, 1974. It was a blue zip suitcase. She lent me the suitcase and my wife packed a brand new suit, a new shirt and tie, which I intended to wear at the funeral. Hugh Callaghan didn't have anything at all with him. We left at about 5.55 p.m. to walk to Walker’s house. This is about 8 minutes away. We were only at Walker’s house for a few minutes. His daughters had had his brown holdall ready for him. We left his house about 6.15 p.m. and walked across to Witton Lodge Road to catch a bus to the Ridgeway where Hunter lived. Walker told me he had arranged to call for Hunter before 6.30 p.m. We caught a bus almost straight away. It was a No. 5 going to Wellhead Lane Garage and although there were other people at the bus stop, we were the only three who got on. This dropped us off on the corner of the Ridgeway and we walked along there and then down the pedestrian passage to Hunter’s house which is in Wryley Way. It backs on to the Ridgeway. Hunter just had a shirt and a couple of pairs of socks which he gave to Walker to put in his zip bag. He also had an overcoat which he said he was going to take back to a friend of his in Belfast. It had been left in his house by this friend when he had stayed with them a short time before. Mrs. Hunter gave me my trousers which she had altered for me. We walked back on to the Ridgeway. We walked down the Ridgeway to the nearest bus stop which is near to Gipsy Lane, where we caught a No. 6 bus, I think, to the City Centre. This bus was quite full. We got off in Colmore Row by the Cathedral. As we got off the bus. I recall the coloured bus driver told some coloured girls who were trying to push their way onto the bus to wait or go to the back of the queue. By this time we were a bit late and we were hurrying but not running. We went across the Churchyard, across Temple Row, and into the narrow passage, (pedestrians only), which runs by the Windsor Pub. I understand it’s called Needless Alley. We came into New Street, up the ramp into the shopping centre and then down the escalator. As we came off the escalator Hunter’s friend Power was waiting there. He said "we’ve missed the train." I knew Power was to be there because Hunter had said so. He’d said: "Billy will think I’m not coming - I told him 6.30 p.m. at the station." The indicator board for the train had just changed. It was just 6.57 p.m. There was another train which, as long as it was on time, would meet the boat train. We went to the ticket office and confirmed that the next train was at 7.58 p.m. Walker and I and Power bought return tickets. Walker then went back to buy a single ticket for Hunter. I gave Walker £3.50 which is half of the single fare.
Callaghan suggested that we should go for a drink at a public house called "The Bramble Bush" or The Mulberry Bush." I didn’t know where it was. Hunter said we might as well have a drink at the station bar by the rail bar, which is on the main concourse of the station. We went in there and Callaghan bought the first round of drinks. We stood round a pillar just inside the entrance. I think we drank three light and bitters, one pint of bitter and one pint of mild. Hunter said he would phone his mother in Belfast to arrange for a car to meet us from the boat since it was dangerous to travel across Belfast except in a car. I think he said he had got to phone somebody across the street as his mother wasn’t on the phone. He went twice to the phone and said he hadn’t been able to contact his mother, but that the neighbour was arranging for us to be met by car. When a table became free, we were able to sit round the table. About 7.40 p.m. Hill suddenly turned up. He had bought his ticket already. We were surprised to see him because we didn’t think he would have been able to raise the money to come. He didn’t buy a drink however, and had a sip out of Power’s glass. I remember there were two coloured girls serving behind the bar and an older man who walked in and out. I also remember there was a young couple sitting by the bar in a corner. They seemed to be having some sort of tiff and we had a bit of a laugh about them in a friendly way. The girl at one stage broke into tears and then they had a kiss and a cuddle. There were some railway men sitting at a table near to us. I should think they were just going to work or had just finished work.
About 7.45 p.m. we left the bar and went straight through the barrier towards Platform 9, where the train was to leave from. I bought some cigarettes at the stall just inside the entrance. We all met up on the platform and got on the train together. I recall that when we arrived at the station, Hunter gave Power the overcoat he was carrying, as Power didn’t have a coat. We played cards on the train, we changed at Crewe. Hunter made another phone call to check on the car and then we caught the boat train.
When we got off the train at Heysham I had my ticket and Walker’s ticket. I think the Ticket Collector had given the return halfs back to me and I had put them both in my pocket. The Police were checking everybody who got off the train and they picked us out because we were obviously Irishmen travelling together. For some reason they didn’t stop Hill, just Power, Hunter, Walker and myself. We were taken to an office and questioned and asked to wait a bit and eventually the boat went without us. We were taken to Morcambe Police Station. We went voluntarily. We were asked why we were going to Belfast and I told them that I was going to see my mother. They told us that there had been explosions in Birmingham and that several people had been killed. (I was afraid that if I told them I was going to McDade’s funeral, it would make things more difficult for us). I remember chatting to a young officer who was very friendly, about the troubles in Belfast. I was asked if I minded a forensic test and I said I didn’t mind at all. This forensic test was eventually taken at Morcambe Police Station about 3,00 a.m. on Friday morning. I knew the time because I was wearing my watch. I was kept in a cell on my own and was told when I was having the swab test that the Birmingham Police Officers would be coming to interview us later. I was extremely worried, not because of any feeling of guilt, but I had never been detained in a Police Station before and didn’t know what to expect. I had done nothing, but that didn’t stop me being worried. I did doze off a couple of times, but didn’t sleep at all well. About 7.00 a.m. I was given a slice of bread and an egg and beans and a cup of tea. I have a bad stomach and couldn’t eat the egg or beans.
Shortly after breakfast at about 7.45 to 8.00 a.m. - it may have been later - I was taken to another room in the Morcambe Police Station and there saw the Birmingham Police Officer, and, the Lancashire Police Officer P...., who told me to strip. They gave me a light grey blue suit to wear and some other clothes, but no shoes. All my clothes were packed up in plastic bags. I was taken back to the cell and after that I heard screams. It sounded like Hill screaming and I became nervous.
Later, on Friday morning, in the cell I was questioned for about half an hour. I was not questioned at that time by M.... W.... and R.... as alleged. I first saw these officers when I was taken to the cars to be transported to Birmingham. I was interviewed by K.... who came in on his own and was joined shortly afterwards by M.... The whole interview lasted just over half an hour. During this interview I did not deny knowing Walker, Power, Hunter and Hill, as is alleged. Detective Superintendent I...., Detective Constable W...., P.C. W.... and D.S. B...., all of the Lancashire Police Force, all say that I said I was travelling with the others and that I knew them. I told K.... and M.... that I was going to McDade’s funeral and that I had known his parents and knew McDade slightly. I was not shown Power’s statement at Morcambe, nor was I told that he had made a statement. I was not asked about fertiliser so far as I recall. K.... did tell me that two of the five of us were covered in "stuff." Kelly questioned me about my movements and my background, and he also asked me about Hugh Callaghan. He slapped me several times across the face with an open hand. K.... told me that the man questioning Hill had a relation who had been killed and that he was fighting mad. He said he would be interviewing me soon.
Soon after this M.... came in. M.... shouted: "Irish Catholic Bastard" at me and then he gave me a violent kick in the chest just under the left shoulder. I was half facing him and half facing K... I fell down. It was an extremely violent and painful blow. His toe hit me on my left shoulder and the heel on my chest. A bruise developed as a result of this kick. M.... then jumped on top of me and held a blanket over my head. He held it very tightly and I was unable to breathe. The interview then ended. I was then left alone in the cell for a considerable length of time. About 4.00 p.m. (it was starting to get dark), a coat was put over my head by two Police Officers who then conducted me out of the cell. I think now that one of the Police Officers was D.C. W of the Lancashire Police Force. I was led out of the Police Station. On the way out at one point I was allowed to walk straight into a wall. I couldn’t see where I was going because I had a coat over my head. I banged my head on the wall. I was put into a motor car. R... then came over to this car and told the Police Officers to put me in another car. He said "get him out of here, I want Hunter."
I was then put in a car with M.... and W. This was the first time I saw them. I was in the back on my own throughout the journey to Birmingham and nothing at all happened in the car.
On arrival in Birmingham, I was put in a cell and then left overnight. During the night I was kept awake by the Police Officers on duty and told to keep standing. I was then interviewed by M.... and W.... in the Police Woman inspector’s Office at Queen’s Road Police Station. I was not cautioned or reminded that I was on caution. Nothing was said to the effect that I had denied knowing the others. This had not happened. I told them the truth about my movements on that day and much of that appears to be contained in the Police Officers’ Statements. However, I didn’t say that Hunter got the tickets with Power. I told them that Walker, Powers and I had bought tickets and then Walker went back with some money that I had provided and some of his own to buy Hunter’s ticket. Nor did I say that Hunter’s mother was ill. I told them that Hunter’s father had recently died and that Hunter was probably going to stop in Belfast for a few days and then come back with his mother.
When I told them all about my movements, M.... slapped me twice across the face. M…. went out of the room and came back with a piece of paper which he told me was a statement that Power had made admitting that we had all been involved in planting the bombs. He told me that we had all carried plastic bags to the station and then taken them from the station. I denied it. I couldn’t read the statement because I hadn’t got my glasses. I said: "I don’t believe it." He didn’t read me the whole of the statement, he just read out bits of it. I remember saying: "He must be cracking up." I may have looked at the statement, but without my glasses I couldn’t read it. I didn’t then say: "it was a mistake, nobody should have been killed, there should have been a warning, I don’t know what went wrong." I didn’t cry, nor was I offered a cup of tea.
Shortly after the statement had been produced, R.... came into the room. He grabbed me by the jacket and started smacking me in the face and punching me in the chest. He also kicked me. He then left.
M.... kept telling me that I had to make a statement to admit that I had planted the bombs. They pushed some sheets of paper in front of me and told me to sign, but I refused. This interview appeared to last two and a half to three hours, all on Saturday morning. I was then taken back to my cell. After lunch I was taken upstairs, perhaps at 3.00 p.m. and finger-printed and photographed for the first time. I was then taken back to the cell and then I was questioned much later on in the day, perhaps as late as 8.00 p.m. by M.... and W.... again. I refused to answer their questions. The more I refused to answer the more M.... kept smacking my face. R... came in several times. Perhaps as many as three times. W…. had a gun strapped to his hip. He told me the Home Office had given consent to my being shot. If anyone questioned it, the official reply was to be "shot whilst trying to escape." I didn’t believe them, but by this time I was in a bad state. They took me into another room where there was several Detectives present, including R...., M...., W and probably L… I couldn’t identify the others. It was a room that was about 12 feet long and I was stood with my back to a wail. W took out the revolver. He was standing at the other end of the room from me. He held it at arms length aiming at my heart. He asked me to sign the statement. I refused. He pulled the trigger slowly and deliberately. There was a click, but nothing else happened. He started to swear. He messed about with the gun and then said: "Next time it will be alright." He repeated the performance, but this time the gun went off. I thought for a moment I was dead. My heart seemed to stop I was so frightened. This was then repeated 2 or 3 times. I was less scared but W…. kept telling me the next time "would be for real." I saw the cartridge come out of the barrel of the gun.
M…. punched me in the face and my nose started bleeding. R.... also struck me. He slapped my face and punched me in the chest. (L.... also joined in and hit me). I was constantly punched and slapped and eventually I broke down completely. I was in a complete daze. I was told to sign my name on a sheet of paper which I did. I didn’t read it. I hadn’t got my glasses and I was in no state to read anything. I don’t even remember writing the caption on the statement, but it is in my handwriting and I must have written it. I think that it was perhaps as late as midnight when I signed the statement. It was definitely dark. I have no recollection of what was said during these later interviews. After I had signed, I remember seeming to come round from a daze and wondering where I was and where the kids were. I felt as though I had been doped. Shortly afterwards, M.... came back in and I signed 3 or 4 more sheets. I have no idea what they were.
I can remember while I was being interviewed that M.... and the other Officers would say to me: "Say you didn’t mean to kill anyone. Say there was supposed to be a warning and that it was all a mistake." "Say it all went wrong," and words to this effect. They kept suggesting to me that I had been in a pub by the Odeon Cinema and down some steps and planted the bomb, together with Paddy Joe. I was in such a state that I may have agreed with what they were saying, although I believe I refused to answer any of their questions.
On Saturday night I was given a small pork pie and a glass of water. I haven’t seen the Officer who gave me this. A uniformed Officer came round with a dog. It. may have been Sergeant H... I was told to lie down, not to attempt to talk to anyone or knock on the wall. I was told that if I did the dog would be turned loose on me. I did have some sleep on Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, M.... came in and gave me a further change of clothing because the grey/blue suit I had been given by I.... was covered in blood from my nose. I was then photographed again and it is apparent from the photographs that I was not then wearing the grey/blue suit. Later on Sunday, I was charged with murder by Chief Superintendent R….
I was taken to Stesihouse Lane Lock-up on Sunday evening. I was not stripped at the Lock-up and examined as claimed by the Chief inspector. I in n fact had marks on my chest and on my left side. I felt black and blue and stiff. I was not allowed any sleep and was made to stand up all night. If I attempted to lie down, the Officers on duty would shout through the flaps in the door and told to stand up.
When I saw my Solicitor, Mr. Curtis, on Monday morning, I told him that I had been assaulted and that I thought I had signed a statement. He told me that he would arrange for me to be seen by a Doctor as soon as possible.
When I arrived at the Prison I was viciously assaulted. I had had no marks on my face at the Court and the marks shown on the photographs taken at the Prison were all caused by the assault by the Prison Officers.
39 Enderby Road,
Date of Birth: 13th April, 1935 (Age 40).
I was born in Londonderry, but came to England to live in 1952 when I was 17 years old. I lived in Reading for a year but moved to Birmingham in 1953. I have lived in Birmingham ever since. I married my wife Theresa (age 34) in Birmingham 18 years ago and we have 7 children. Bernadette now 17, Veronica 15, Sean 11, Denise 9, Anne 7, Dawn 5 and Joanne 2. For the last 5 years I have worked at Forging and Pressings Limited, part of the G.K.N. Group in Witton, as a mobile crane driver in the Maintenance Section. I have always worked regularly. I have always earned good money up to £60.00 per week. I have never previously been in any trouble with the Police of any kind, and never appeared before a Court before, except since my arrest in connection with these charges. I was football manager in the works.
I was born a member of the Catholic community in Ulster and have always associated myself with that community and had sympathies with their cause so far as civil rights went. I also would like to see a United Ireland since I think that this would be the solution to Ireland’s problems. I did not think the violence of the Provisional I.R.A. was the way to achieve this however. Having lived in England for 22 years, although I felt sympathy for the cause, I was not passionately involved.
Early in 1974, together with Robert Hunter and Noel Richard McIlkenny and Patrick Joseph Hill, I became involved in organising a weekly raffle or tote. It all started from a Don League (a card game) that Hunter tried to organise at the Crossways Public House in Erdington. The problem was that on the night when the Birmingham Don League played there was no room available at the Crossways Pub. They were all taken by other Clubs and Societies and we were therefore unable to join the League since we had no room available. Before we discovered this, it had already been decided that we should try and organise a raffle to raise funds for the team, and when the plans for the team fell through we carried on organising the raffle and decided it would be a good idea to raise funds for the dependants of internees in Northern Ireland. We had all heard at the Crossways that payments were being made by a Charity in Dublin to assist wives and children of internees. At first Hunter was the Treasurer of this raffle and the money was accumulated by him. He didn’t send the money anywhere and in fact borrowed from the proceeds once or twice. In the summer of 1974, I became the Treasurer and took over the funds from Hunter.
I was reasonably friendly with an Irishman at work called Michael Murray. Murray told me that the money had to go to the Dependants Relief Fund in Kevin Street, Dublin. I agreed to hand the money over to him because he told me he collected money from other sources and sent it on to the Relief Fund. I handed over the money that I had and continued to hand over the money at regular intervals to him. We were probably collecting about £8.00 per week profit. Murray would also assist me in providing the prizes. His wife would purchase them from a Warehouse for which he had a trader’s card enabling her to purchase the goods at wholesale prices. The prizes consisted of lamps, teddy bears, cutlery, table lighters and clocks of various kinds, including alarm clocks and watches. I would usually collect these items from Mick Murray at work, or in The Yew Tree Public House near to the factory. I used to meet him there most Friday lunch-times at about 1 .00 p.m.
Quite apart from the invoices that the Police have produced as evidence, there was in my house invoices in respect of other items, such as the lamps and teddy bears, etc. There were also some records showing the money collected and handed to Murray. I understand from my family that shortly after my arrest, my house was completely wrecked. My wife abandoned it. I used to keep the prizes at my house. Only once did Murray come to my house and bring the prizes there, rather than give them to me at work.
I have known James McDade for about two years. He was a friend of Hunter. He used to help from time to time with selling the tote tickets. There was an occasion on a Saturday in about May of 1974, that McDade walked with me to my house. I had met him at the Kingstanding Ex-Servicemen’s Club. He had a bag with him, a cloth bag. He told me he had a couple of wirelesses and some table lighters. He asked me to take the bag and look after it. He said he was going to Lozell’s Club. I took the bag into my home and put it upstairs, but I didn’t look inside it. On the Sunday night, that was the following night, Mick Sheehan who was also involved in selling tickets called at my house and told me he had come to collect the bag that McDade had left. Mick Sheehan was also a friend of McDade and I saw nothing strange in handing the bag to him. I went in his van - I only wanted a lift to the Crossways. The van went the wrong way - I protested, they said we’ll only be a minute. We went to Green Lane. It could have been Kelly’s house. I have no idea what this bag contained and I have no reason to believe that it contained explosives, even though I now know McDade was involved with I.R.A. bombings.
I have never been involved with any bombings. There has never been any explosives at my house, and I have never had any knowledge of how to make a bomb.
In June 1974, Tucker Smith (of Sinn Fein), organised a trip from Birmingham to the Wolf Tone Celebration. This is an annual event held near to Dublin. I have never been to Dublin before and a group of us from the Crossways decided we would go. There were over a hundred people going from Birmingham in two or three coaches and we were just one small group from the Crossways. Hunter went, so did Sheehan, Billy Shields, Joseph Coyle and John Martin. I regarded it solely as a social outing. It only cost £15.00 including two nights in an hotel. Not surprisingly, while we were on this trip, we were handed some political propaganda by Sinn Fein, but I took very little notice of it. There was a calendar which I pinned up at home on my return.
I never told anybody at work that this was an I.R.A. training trip. I told them it was a holiday which is what it was to me.
On the Saturday, after working in the morning, McIlkenny, Hunter and I discussed the possibility of going to McDade’s funeral. We believed from the Press reports that it was likely to be on the following Saturday in Belfast. We thought we could go after work on Friday and come back Sunday night. I went over to Castle Vale in the afternoon with Hunter. We called on Powers to see if he was going to do a collection for McDade’s widow at Hardy Spicer. We called in a few pubs.
On the Sunday dinner hour, I was again with Hunter. We met Power and discussed going to Belfast. We were going to play Don at Castle Vale.
On the Monday lunch-time about 1.00 p.m., I saw Hunter and Power in the Crossways. We decided to have some Mass Cards signed to take with us. I arranged to go with Hunter on the Tuesday morning before work to buy these. We went to the Cathedral book shop and bought about a dozen on the Tuesday. We went back on the Wednesday and bought some more. Two from Corporation Street and the rest from the Cathedral. We bought about 20 in all and had them signed by people at the Crossways. On Thursday, 21st November 1974, Hunter and Powers called at my house. It was about 11.00 a.m. They told me the funeral was to be on the Friday in Belfast. I was working the afternoon shift, 1.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m., and I decided not to go to work, but to go to Belfast. Hunter hadn’t got any money, but I told him that if I picked up enough I would lend him some. We decided to call on the Priest, Father Ryan, to have the Mass Cards signed. Hunter had forgotten his, as we went via Hunter’s house to St. Margaret’s and St. Mary’s Church on Perry Common Road to have the Mass Cards signed by Father Ryan for McDade. Father Ryan wasn’t in and I left the Mass Cards with his housekeeper and arranged to call back about 5.00 p.m. to collect them.
I left Hunter and Powers and went to the Crossways. Dick McIlkenny came in about 1.15 p.m. I told him the news and he said he would go with us. He gave me the phone number at work, but as I was about to telephone to arrange for our money to be paid that afternoon, Dick then pointed out that the office would be shut. We caught a bus about 1.30 p.m. down to work. Dick stayed talking to the gateman while I went in and saw the Foreman, Martin Murrihy. I also saw Dennis Turner and he told me he had mended my watch. I was told to come back for our money about 2.30 p.m. We walked down to The Yew Tree pub and had two pints of Guinness each before returning for our money. We spoke only to the Shift Foreman, Mr. Murrihy and the Shop Foreman, Mr. O’Dwyer. We saw nobody else. We told them that we were going to a funeral of a relation in Belfast. We said nothing at all about McDade. It would then be about 2.40 p.m. I then called on Eddie Leavsley and borrowed a black tie. I arranged for McIlkenny to call for me with a view to us calling for Hunter and catching the 6.55 p.m. train from New Street to Crewe to catch the boat train coming from London. I went home at about 5.00 p.m., had some scrambled eggs for my tea. I sent Sean to Gerry Hunter’s house to collect my brown/red zip holdall, which he had previously borrowed from me for his father’s funeral. The zip had been broken. This had been mended by Mrs. Hunter. Sean came back with it and my two daughters, Veronica and Bernadette, packed a few clothes for me. Veronica ironed a shirt and packed it. There was nothing in the bag, but the clothes and food, boiled ham sandwiches and 4 or 5 Granny Smith’s apples, which the girls packed, 1 pair of socks, 2 shirts, pair of trousers, sports jacket, shaving kit and a towel. My wife was at work. She left for work at 4.50 p.m. before I came home from Father Ryan’s. Bernadette lent me £5.00. Shortly before 6 o’clock, Dick McIlkenny and Hugh Callaghan called for me. Callaghan had apparently been at McIlkenny’s house and he was coming to the station just to see us off. I knew him fairly well because he drank at the Crossways. It was just before 6.00 p.m. when we left the house and walked down Enderby Road to the other side of Witton Lodge Road and waited for a bus. There were a few people waiting and after a few minutes a No. 5 bus came. This was not going into town, but merely going to Wellhead Lane Garage, but we got on this because it would take us to the Ridgeway from where we could easily walk to Hunter’s house. We had made no specific arrangement with Hunter. However, I had told Sean to tell him to expect us about 6.15 p.m. We walked to Hunter’s house. His wife was there and we told him that we would pay for his fare. He merely collected a shirt and two pairs of socks which he gave to me to put in my bag and he also collected an overcoat which belonged to a friend of his who had gone back to Belfast, which had been left at his house. I carried this as well. After a few minutes we left Hunter’s house and walked down towards the bus. After we had gone a short way, two of Hunter’s children caught us up and gave Hunter a pound which his wife had sent. We waited at the bus stop near to the junction of the Ridgeway and Gipsy Lane and caught a bus at about 8.30 p.m. I think it might have been a No. 6. We got off in Colmore Row, walked across the Churchyard, down Needless Alley passed the Windsor Public House and into New Street Station, via the shopping centre. We came down the escalator and found William Power was waiting for us at the station. As we came down the escalator we saw the indicator board for the 6.55 p.m. train change and we assumed that the train had gone. McIlkenny, Power and myself, each bought ourselves return tickets and then McIlkenny gave me some money, £3.50, and I went back and purchased a single ticket for Hunter, cost £8 approximately.
We were going to catch the next train which was the 7.55 p.m., which, as long as it was on time, would meet the London boat train at Crewe. We checked the time with the ticket collector. We decided to have a drink and Callaghan suggested we should go to a pub just outside the Station, called The Mulberry Bush. I didn’t know the pub. Hunter said we might as well stay on the station and drink in the Taurus bar by the restaurant. We went in there. There were 2 or 3 girls (Jamaican). serving behind the bar. At that time all the seats were full and we stood up round a pillar near to the doorway. There was a young couple sitting near to the bar who appeared to be having some sort of argument.
Callaghan bought the first round of drinks. I think it was 2 or 3 light and bitters, 1 pint of Guinness and 1 or 2 pints of bitter, (5 drinks in all). Hunter went out of the bar to the phone on the other side of the station concourse to try and get hold of his mother to let her know he was coming and also to try and arrange for us to be met from the boat, since we knew it wasn’t safe to travel around Belfast without a vehicle. He was going to ring a friend of his mother’s who lived in the same street, as his mother wasn’t on the phone. He came back and after a few minutes went back to the phone and rang again. He told us that he hadn’t been able to speak to his mother, but that this friend was going to arrange for us to be met from the boat.
I bought the next round of drinks and soon after this, at about 7.45 p.m., Paddy Hill arrived at the station and came across to us in the bar. He had mentioned that he would be going to Belfast for the funeral, but we hadn’t arranged to meet him. We did not think he would be able to raise the money, but he told us that he had borrowed the money from the Nuns. He didn’t buy a drink, but had a drink out of Bill Power’s glass. Soon after, a couple of minutes, he arrived, at about 7.45 p.m. we made our way down to the platform. At the cigarette stall, just past the ticket barrier, I bought a packet of cigarettes. I recall that I was given an Irish coin in the change. We all got on the train together and it left on time at 7.55 p.m. We changed at Crewe and Hunter again rang through to Belfast to check that everything was alright for the vehicle. He told us that we were going to be met by a Mr. Dunlop. On the train we played cards.
When we got off the train, we were making our way from the platform towards the boat dock. Everybody was being stopped and questioned and the four of us, Hunter, Power, McIlkenny and myself, were asked to go to the inspector’s Office. Hill had separated from us. We were asked why we were going to Belfast and I told P.C. W.... and P.C. W.... that I was going to Belfast to stop at McIlkenny’s mother’s house. I didn’t say that I was going to see McIlkenny’s mother. I don’t know the lady. We were asked to go to Morecambe Police Station for forensic tests. We were not arrested, but were asked to assist with enquiries and we agreed.
When we arrived at Morecambe Police Station, we waited some time when we were taken for forensic tests. I only vaguely recall seeing Detective Superintendent I.... and a conversation he recalls with me is inaccurate. I was certainly nervous when I went to have the test, but this was because I have never been in a Police Station before, not because of any guilty complex. I told I.... that I was going to stop with McIlkenny’s mother, not that I was going to see McIlkenny’s mother. I didn’t say that it seemed suspicious having regard to what happened in Birmingham. I.... may well have suggested that to me, but I didn’t agree. I can’t remember whether I said I was going for a holiday or not, I probably did, but I didn’t say, "Yes I know it smells." I can remember I...., or perhaps another officer, saying, "You’ll soon change your mind when the Birmingham Police come," or words to that effect. The swab tests were given much earlier than 8.55 a.m. Probably about 6.30a.m.
I was then taken back to my cell and given breakfast and after breakfast I was taken to the Matron’s Room and told to strip. My clothes were all packed in plastic bags and I was given a shirt and a pair of trousers to wear, but nothing else. They didn’t fit very well. K.... and S…. then conducted me to another room, each had hold of one arm on either side of me and as I entered the room a third Officer kicked me from behind on the base of my spine. I yelled out. I turned round and saw the Officer concerned. It was the heavily built Police Officer who has given evidence, called C.... C...., K and S…. , started to hit me with their fists and kick me immediately. I was pushed and kicked from one Officer to the other. I was punched in the midriff and kicked in the private parts by K.... Because of the violence that I received, I have only a vague recollection of the questions that I was asked and the answers that I gave, but I was being asked questions. I was never cautioned at this interview or at any time subsequent. I remember that when I told them my address and I said that I came from Derry, K.... would say, "There’s no such place as Derry, it’s Londonderry." This happened every time I said Derry and when at some much later stage I called it Londonderry, K.... then said, "There’s no such place as Londonderry, it’s Derry in the County of Londonderry." I can remember telling them about my brother who is a Sergeant serving in the Army in Cyprus.
I’m sure I said nothing at all about McIlkenny having an aunt who was sick. I’m sure that I was saying that I was going to stay with Mciikenny’s mother. It is right that I have said I was going on holiday, to K...., because although I have been through Belfast on a number of occasions, I have never stopped there. I remember when the Officers mentioned tape, screws, wire etc., I told them that the screws that I had were for hanging the girls bedroom door, which was only fixed by one screw. I told them my wife was always on to me about it. K.... hit me when I said that. When I told him about the raffles, he kept saying, "You collect for the I.R.A." and then he’d hit me. I kept denying this and said that it was for the P.D.F., the Prisoners Dependants’ Fund. It was after this that they produced the Mass Cards and K.... in particular, hit me and kicked me. K…. said: "You’re a f…… Fenian, we’re going to throw your body in the Irish Sea."
My shirt came open and the Officers were beating me on my bare chest and stomach with their fists. They saw the scar on my stomach and the operation I have had for ulcers. They continually punched me in the stomach on or about the scar.
I was told that they were going to shoot me and C.... took out a gun and pointed it at me. Either K.... or S….. then covered my head with a blanket and said: "Give him a few minutes with his Maker." I then heard a clap. One of them had clapped their hands over my head and I thought I had been shot. I felt as though I had been shot. I was terrified. At a later time, K.... took a cigarette and pushed it into the blister on the big toe of my right foot. This had formed because I had been wearing new shoes. I remember screaming. They kept telling me that I had been responsible for the bombings in Birmingham. I became completely deranged and it is difficult for me to remember exactly what happened. I remember them waving Mass Cards in front of me and not being able to see them clearly and saying, "You knew this bastard."
K.... danced on my bare feet, particularly my right foot. My right foot has since been swollen and I’ve had it X-rayed in Prison. I was made to stand on one foot and when I started to lose control or attempt to put the other foot down, I was kicked on the legs and in the private parts by K…. I had to put my hands on my head.
So far as I know, I did not admit to being a member of the I.R.A., nor did I say as alleged, "Oh God, they’ve taken me for a right c... What have I got myself into - the bastards?" I don’t remember being interviewed by R... at all, even though I’ve seen him in the witness box. He could well have interviewed me however. I don’t remember being told anything about the results of the forensic tests or that Power had made a statement during the interview at Morecambe.
I must have lost consciousness, because I can remember coming to in the cell and washing my face in the water from the toilet in the corner of the cell.
I don’t remember being formally arrested at Morecambe before being taken to. Birmingham, but I was taken out of the cell by K.... and S.... I was handcuffed to K…. I was led out of the cell with a coat over my head and as I was going down a passageway, I was kicked and punched. I couldn’t see anybody’s faces, just legs. I was put into a car and I didn’t bump my head as I got into the car. The handcuff was attached to the passenger strap up above the door, so that I had one arm up in the air. K.... sat next to me. He smelt of drink. He said: "I’ve hit you so much my hands are sore." He continued to hit me in the car. I still had the coat over my head and he punched me round my ears and butted me in the face. When we were on the Motorway, the coat was taken off for a time and K.... looked as though he was settling down to go to sleep. S…. , who had been sitting in the front passenger seat directly in front of me, knelt on the seat facing me and told K.... to put the coat over my head before he went to sleep. K…. told me not to go to sleep under the coat and S…. said that he’d make sure of that. All of a sudden I felt a blow under my left eye, presumably from S…. fist. I don’t remember anything else about the journey and I must have lost consciousness. I may have been kicked on the legs by K… in the car, but having been knocked out in this way, my memory of the journey is very vague. I was put in the cells at Queen’s Road Police Station, Aston, and was kept awake by the Officers on duty. I had no blanket, no shoes and no socks. My feet were like ice. I was made to stand all night.
On the Saturday morning, C.... took me out of the cell and I was photographed and fingerprinted and then I was taken to a room upstairs where K and S took various particulars. Newspapers showing the devastation at the two pubs were waved in front of me and then I was told that Power had made a statement. I was shown a piece of paper, it was slapped in front of me, but picked up again immediately, so I never had a chance to read it. I wasn’t cautioned then or at any other time. Bits of this alleged statement by Power were read to me. I was shown a sketch by a Senior Officer with grey hair, (it may well have been R....,. I’m not sure though). He told me it was how I had made the bombs. It was all just a blur, I just couldn’t see it.
K…. and S…. left and two other Officers came in, one of them was B... and I cannot remember seeing the other one at all, he was a big bloke. B... sat down on a chair on the opposite side of a table from me. I was also sitting down. He said: "Pull your chair over Walker." I pulled my chair over and he gave me a cigarette. I thought all the brutality was over. I thought this man was a gentleman. He then said: "Everybody’s made a statement now you might as well make one yourself." I started to tell him the truth as contained in this statement. He said: "You’re a f…. liar." He grabbed hold of my private parts and started slapping and beating me. This other Officer came up behind me and applied his thumbs to the back of my neck. I remember him saying to B..., "Watch his eyes." He waved a piece of paper in front of me and told me to read it. He held it down so that I had to bend my head to look at it. I couldn’t read what it was. I was then punched on the back of the neck and then this same Officer put his hands tightly around my throat and closed my windpipe so that I was half strangled.
K.... and S.... returned and K said they were going to take me down to the firing range and have some shooting practise at me. I was told that my wife had made a statement in which she said she knew I was responsible for the bombs. I can remember K.... kept saying how sore his hands were from hitting me and I can remember him swearing when he broke his cufflink. I remember K.... hitting me with a ruler, particularly by my right ear. It was a big ruler with a metal edge. S kneed me in the private parts.
I remember mentioning the bag that I had off James McDade and accompanied to Kelly’s house. I told them I didn’t know what was in the bag. I certainly didn’t say that it contained batteries, wire and watches. I was never offered a cup of tea as alleged. I remember doing the sketch showing the route we took to the Station at some time during the interview, but I never put on the crosses, nor did I do any of the writing. I just drew the outline of the streets. I can remember being told that my family were being attacked, but that if I signed they would be moved to a safe place.
Eventually, I was in such a state that I agreed to anything. I thought that the statement I eventually signed was typed because I can remember K.... being at a typewriter at some time on the Saturday. I have no recollection of seeing the hand-written document with the two coloured inks that has been produced. However, it is signed by me. I don’t usually sign J.F. Walker, but must have done so, as it appears to be my signature. I don’t remember writing the caption, but again this is in my writing. I can remember that my hand was shaking so much that S.... had to hold the back of my hand still, so that I could sign my name. I was then left alone.
On Saturday night I was fed a pork pie and a glass of water. I haven’t seen the Officer who brought this. I may have had some sleep on Saturday night.
On the Sunday, I was charged by Chief Superintendent R..... and after I was charged I said: "You know we never done this."
Later, we were taken together from Queen’s Road to the Central Lock-up at Steelhouse Lane. We were not stripped and examined by the Chief inspector as alleged, so far as I can remember. I was kept awake all night at the Central Lock-up by the Officers on duty. I was made to stand up in bare feet. I cannot remember this night in any great detail and I only have the vaguest recollections of seeing Mr. Curtis the following morning soon after 8 o’clock. I only have a vague recollection of insisting that a Police Officer stop. I didn’t know Mr. Curtis and thought that he was some further representative of the Police. When I was asked about the black eye, I said I fell down.
When I arrived at Winson Green Prison, I was kicked out of the van by B...., the Officer who accompanied me. I fell on the ground hitting the lower part of my face and I lost my teeth then. I was later punched in reception and may have lost some more there. I was viciously assaulted at the Prison.
Born: 24/3/30 - Aged 45.
I lived at the above address, until my arrest, with my wife and 16 year old daughter Geraldine. We lived at this address, a Council House for some four years.
It is 3 or 4 years since I have worked, because I suffer from an ulcer and also from nervous debility. I regularly see my doctor, Dr. Fitzgerald, Dr. Dobby or Dr. Hiscock at their Streetly Road Surgery, Erdlngton, and they treat me with medications for my ulcer.
I was receiving Social Security and Supplementary Benefit amounting to £17.20. My wife works and earns approximately £8 per week. My daughter is also working and is financially independent, though she lives with us.
My Doctor had made a provisional appointment for me to enter Dudley Road Hospital on 14th January, 1975, for an operation on my ulcer. I was arrested before that date, and have done nothing further about it whilst I have been at Winson Green Prison.
Apart from an offence of drunk and disorderly for which I was fined £2 at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court in 1960, I have no previous convictions.
Since coming to England in 1947, I have been in regular employment until three or four years ago.
On Thursday the 21st November, 1974, at about 11.00 a.m. I went to the Post Office to collect my Social Security money. i then went to the Crossways Public House, Erdington, at about mid-day and had about 3 or 4 pints of beer. At the pub, I was in conversation with two Irishmen from Belfast, and we spoke generally about McDade. John Walker, and shortly afterwards Richard McIlkenny came into the pub, and we greeted one another, but they went and stood in another part of the pub, and I continued my conversation with the other two Irishmen.
At about 11.15 a.m. I saw my wife at Stockland Green, she was waiting for me to bring her my Social Security money so that I could give her her house-keeping. I told her that my money had been stopped and I had to go and collect it from the Office in the afternoon and then I walked up Streetly Road towards the Golden Cross.
Before arriving at the Crossways Pub, at about 11.30 a.m., I had met Power and Gerard Hunter outside the Golden Cross Pub, Short Heath Road. We had a chat about McDade’s funeral, and they told me that they were trying to borrow some money to go back to Belfast for the funeral. I told them that I might see them later on, and I walked on down to the Crossways Pub, in company with another Irish man, whom I met at the same time.
I was at the Crossways Pub from about 12.00 until about 2.45 p.m.
I left the Crossways and went to the Kingstanding Ex-Servicemen’s Club, where I had a couple more Guinness, and there I had conversations with a couple of men whom I vaguely knew, who were members of the Club. I stayed there until about 4.15 p.m. From there I walked to Richard MclIkenny’s house at Epsom Grove off College Road, Erdington, to repay one pound which I had borrowed from him. I stayed and chatted to him about McDade. He told me that he was going to Belfast for the funeral that night, in company with Walker, Hunter and Power. He did not mention any of the other chaps who were going, so far as I remember. Richard McIlkenny sent his son out to borrow a case which he wanted to take with him to Belfast. I stayed with him and played with his daughter. Some time shortly after 6 o’clock, we went round to Walker’s house, about 10 minutes walk.
We picked up Walker and we picked up a Number 5 or Number 7 bus at the Ringway, Erdington. It had been my intention to get off at the Crossways Pub, and catch a number 28 bus home. I knew that my wife was waiting for the money. But when we neared the Crossways, I decided that I would accompany them to the station and go straight home afterwards.
We stayed on the bus until the Ridgeway Bus Stop, and then we walked down to Hunter's house, it was then about 8.30 p.m.
We picked up Hunter, and the four of us caught a bus from the Ridgeway (Number 5 or 7) bus straight into Town.
I was not aware of the time, because I did not have a watch, and was not particularly concerned about the time. The others would have a better idea, as they were intending to catch the 6.55 p.m. train, but as I had no intention of accompanying them, I was not particularly concerned about the time.
We arrived, in town, and I recall that we arrived at Colmore Row, walked down to New Street Station, through the Churchyard and then Stephenson Place, then up into New Street Station Shopping Centre and down the escalator.
When we arrived we met Power, who told us that we had missed the first train, the 6.55 p.m. I told him that I was not going on the train, but the others were. We went into the bar at the Station.
I recall that there were two coloured barmaids, and I waited about 8 minutes or so until I had the drinks and brought them back to the lads who were standing by a table. I forgot Gerard Hunter’s drink and I went back to buy him one as well.
I recall having seen the Station clock at about 7.05 p.m. when we first arrived at the Station, and by the time I had bought the drinks, it must have been about 7.15 p.m.
At the Station I was wearing:
We spent about 35 minutes or so drinking until Hill came in just before 7.50 p.m., he did not have sufficient time to have a drink, but, I think it might have been Walker who gave him a drop to drink out of the bottom of his cup.
Before we went into the bar, McIlkenny, Hunter and Walker went and bought their tickets, and I think Power already had one.
At about 7.50 p.m. I bought a platform ticket, and went down onto the platform with the 5 others. The train was already standing at the platform, and they all boarded it. I stayed on the platform said goodbye when the train went off, then I went back up to the bar to finish my drink off. The drink had gone, so I walked out of the Station, passed the Mulberry Bush, and was going to go in for a drink, but I decided at the last moment not to, and instead went up to Yate’s Wine Lodge, as it would be nearer to the 5A Bus Stop in Corporation Street. By this time it was about a couple of minutes past 8.00 p.m.
I bought a drink at the bar, and I saw a man, John Fannon, whom I had not seen for many years. I went over and stood talking to him, and he bought me a drink. We were chatting for 5 or 8 minutes when the lights went out. It was then announced that there was a bomb scare, and we all went outside. I went out of the back entrance and across Cannon Street into the Windsor Public House with my drink. My friend John Fannon was with me. We finished our drinks and John bought me another drink. We were only in the Windsor for 5 minutes (or 6 minutes), when Police Officers came and told us all to go outside as there was a bomb scare.
The two of us walked out of Needless Alley into Corporation Street and there we saw the disturbances and people milling about near to the Odeon, New Street. We decided that it would be safer for us to leave town, so John went one way and I went up Corporation Street to get the bus, the number 5A. It came almost Immediately and I met a man whom I know from the Rehabilitation Centre. We got off the bus before Six Ways, Aston, and we both went to the Lozell’s Club. The Club was packed, and it was there that we heard the news about the explosion at the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town. I stayed there with this man, for about three quarters of an hour. It was now nearing 10.00 p.m., when we left the Lozell’s Club and we both caught the 5A bus. My friend got off at Wyley Birch Estate, and I travelled on to the Crossways, where I went into the pub, and was just in time for a drink just before 10.30 p.m.
I spoke to Frank Murphy at the Crossways, and we discussed the bombings in town.
I caught a bus (Number 28) near the pub and must have arrived home at shortly after 11.00 p.m.
I was arrested at my home on the Friday night, the night after the explosions. I was taken from there to the Police Station at Aston. There I was questioned for about an hour by two Detectives. They told me that I was involved in the bombing, which I denied. I told them that I had left the others at the Station and eventually made my way home. They slapped me a few times around the face, but the attack was not extremely brutal. I refused to make a statement. I told them the truth about my movements, but I do not know whether they wrote that down, and then they moved me to Sutton Coldfleid Police Station. There I was told that they had caught the others, and they showed me Power’s statement, the part where he admits that he had the bombs. I denied that I had the bombs. They told me that all the others had made a statement, and that I was the last, and that all the others had in their statements involved me in the placing of the bombs. The questioning on the Friday night lasted for an hour or two. They slapped me occasionally around the face. They were shouting at me and intimidating me. I was in an extremely nervous state and was crying and extremely frightened.
They then put me in a cell and they kept me awake most of the night. They would not let me lie down, and insisted that I sat up and each time I started dozing off they would wake me.
Eventually they did let me sleep for a short while, but all the time the alsatian dog was coming in and out of my cell, as the door was open.
Early Saturday morning, the questioning commenced with the same two Officers. They asked me to admit the bombings, and when I refused, one of them kicked me persistently in the shin.
During the course of Saturday morning, an Officer came in. He put some liquid on a cotton wool stick, and wiped it over my hands and the edges of my finger nails. He then packed up the swab, and I then washed my hands. As far as I recall, he only took one set of tests.
The two Officers who had interviewed me so far, then left and four other Detectives came in.
They brought some clothes from my home and made me take off the clothes that I was wearing, and wrap myself in a blanket. Otherwise, I was completely naked. Then they told me to put on the clothes which they had brought and then they made me take them off again.
One Officer started wrapping up the clothes which they had brought from my home in paper with twine. That Officer was threatening me with his fist and holding it close to my face and telling me that I was coming to make a confession. At this time I was wearing just a blanket.
With all the threats, I was terribly frightened and I broke down and cried and told them that I would make a statement.
He unwrapped the clothes which he had brought from my home and let me put them on.
They started asking me questions about who placed which bombs where. They told me what they wanted me to say, and I gave them a statement amounting to a confession, and implicating others.
I was interrogated at Aston Police Station, where I received several slaps across the face, but no great violence. I cannot remember the names of the two Detectives who interviewed me there. I was then taken to Sutton Coldfleid Police Station and there the same two Officers interrogated me further. I was extremely nervous and frightened. I had been arrested at 11.00 p.m. on the Friday night, and I really cannot remember what time it was that I reached Sutton. I was, kept overnight at Sutton Coldfieid Police Station. They gave me nothing to eat, and by the Saturday morning, I was suffering. I have a serious stomach ulcer and it is necessary for me to eat every hour. I had asked them several times for a biscuit or something to eat, as I needed to eat regularly. They told me that the canteen was closed, and they refused to give me anything to eat. By Saturday morning, I was feeling extremely ill. By Saturday mid-day, when I was being interrogated by four C.I.D. Officers, I was extremely frightened. I begged them not to beat me up. One of the Officers said that if I did not give a statement I would be banged around the cells, and as a result of this, and their threatening manner and attitude (one of the Officers had his fist close up against my face), I gave them the following statement, dictated by me in answer to their questions, and with frequent prompting from the C.I.D.Officers: -
They told me that I had gone to the Mulberry Bush, and they asked which of the others had accompanied me. I picked one of the other 5 at random and told them it was Gerard Hunter.
They told me that Hunter and I placed the bombs outside the Mulberry Bush, and I had to agree to that.
They then suggested that it was Power who went inside the Mulberry Bush and placed bombs there.
They suggested to me that my daughter frequented the Mulberry Bush and that her friend was there on the night in question. I did not know this of course.
The bombs were supposed to have been carried in plastic bags.
We congregated before the placing of the bombs at New Street Station.
I cannot remember what I said in my statement about where I went immediately after placing the bombs.
They asked me about making a telephone call. I told them that I had made some ‘phone calls to the two pubs, after the train had left with the other five. I told them on the ‘phone that there was a bomb about to go off in each of the two pubs.
I cannot remember anything else contained in my statement.
They gave me nothing to eat until the Sunday evening, when I had a cup of tea and some sardines at Steelhouse Lane Police Station.
RE: STATEMENTS OF ANN MARIE DAWE AND WILLIAM LEE DAWE.
The Dawe family has been well-known to my wife and myself for many years. Mr. Dawe has suffered two or three nervous break-downs, and he is a man who is often known to act irrationally, and to become very excited. He also jumps to conclusions, and has a very vivid imagination. These characteristics also apply to his daughter, to a lesser extent.
On the evening of 21st November, 1974, I arrived home from the Crossways Pub at about 11.30 p.m. William Dawe and his daughter Ann, were at my house. I cannot remember whether my 16 year old daughter Geraldine, was at home then. I had had a few pints at lunch-time and 7 bottles of Guinness, (half pints), during the course of the evening. I was fairly well inebriated, as it does not take much alcohol to make me drunk.
Though I had not seen any of the injured in New Street that evening, I had seen what was going on. The City Centre was extremely busy and full of ambulances, fire engines and police cars, and naturally I was extremely shaken by the news of the explosions, and my proximity to them. I had suggested to Hill, Power, Hunter, Walker and McIlkenny when we were in New Street Station, that we might go to the Mulberry Bush for a drink, as it was cheaper there than at the Station Bar, and though we did not go there, I felt that I was lucky to be alive, and had a fortunate escape. It had crossed my mind that if we had gone to the Mulberry Bush for a drink before the others caught the train, I might well have left a drink there, seen them off at the Station and then returned to finish my drink and been sitting in the Mulberry Bush when the bombs went off.
Thus, by the time I reached home, I was in a very miserable state. My condition was not caused by shock at anything I had done or guilt.
I did tell William Dawe and Ann, that I had been in town with friends, (not a friend).
I did not say that I had been drinking in the Tavern in the Town and had just come out when the bomb went off. What I told them was that I nearly went into the Mulberry Bush, and had been drinking in a pub nearby.
I did not say that there had been bodies and glass flying everywhere. With a few drinks inside me I may well have exaggerated. I probably did say that there was glass all over New Street, and that there was confusion everywhere.
I was not "terrified, shaking and very pale," but I was in a shocked state.
I was also rather ashamed of myself that I had forgotten my wife’s birthday and had been out drinking all evening, leaving her at home, and I anticipated that she would be very angry with me. Geraldine did not say, "That’s you bloody I.R.A. for you." We were watching the news on television, and Geraldine may well have made a remark to the effect that the I.R.A. were responsible. She was certainly making no accusations against me, and I had never given her or anyone the impression that I was in any way involved with the I.R.A.
I was sitting in the chair feeling rather sorry for myself, and probably making some sounds, but I was not crying. I do recall saying several times, "I’m lucky to be alive, do you realise that." it was at this stage that my wife started to shout at me for leaving her alone whilst I was out drinking.
There is nothing sinister about my being called "Joseph" - this is merely a nickname given to me many years ago.
It is obvious from the similar wording of the statements of William and Ann Dawe, that they have consulted together and made their statements together, so that any slight errors in the account, occur in both statements.
On Friday, 22nd November, I left home and arrived at the Crossways at about 11.00 a.m. I left the Crossways, and missed the bus, so I decided to go and see Mrs. Hunter and tell her that her husband had left safely, she might have been worried that her husband had been injured in the bombings. I could see that she was very upset. She was crying and told me that they were trying to pin the bombings on her husband. I gathered that he had been arrested.
I left and met by chance, a friend of mine, Charlie Sloan, and we went down to the Aston Hotel for a couple of drinks and then we went to the Lozell’s Club. I went to a cafe for a cup of tea, at about 6.00 p.m. and at opening time I went to the Oak in Lozell’s, and then down to the Paddock, New Town. I stayed there until about 9.00 p.m. and then I caught the bus to Crossways, where I remained until closing time.
It dawned on me during the course of that day that as the Others had been arrested, and I had been with them at New Street Station, I might well be arrested too. My conscience was perfectly clear, and I made no attempt whatever to escape. I merely went about my daily routine, and when I arrived home at about 11.00 p.m. I was arrested.
Re Statement of D.S. B…… and D.S. B……
On Sunday morning, 24th November, 1974, I was brought down to an interview room where I was seen by Detectives D.S. B... and B…..
D.S. B... did not say, "I believe you wish to see us." I had not asked to see them at all.
I did not say, "Yes, I’ve had a good think, and I’m ashamed and frightened of what I’ve been part of, etc."
I said, "I don’t want that statement to go through because I’m involving Gerard Hunter in something that neither of us did."
I was still very frightened from my experience at the hands of Police Officers the previous night. They asked me what rank I was in the I.R.A., and I said that I was not a member. D.S. B... said to me, "Come off it."
These two Officers did not threaten me, but I still felt threatened, as a result of what I had been through, and I told them whatever I thought they wanted to hear.
One of the Officers asked me who was the Brigadier and the Captain. I just thought of the first name that came to mind and I named Walker as the Brigadier and Hunter the Captain.
He said, "You must have been pretty high up."
I told them that Hill, McIlkenny, Power and I were Lieutenants.
I think he probably asked me when the bombings were planned, and I may well have said Tuesday morning.
I might have said that the meeting took place at McIlkenny’s house.
This is totally untrue, and none of us went to his house on Tuesday morning.
I did mention the White Horse, Nechells, as the meeting place for the I.R.A., merely because I knew that they used to collect money for the Prisoners’ Dependants Fund there and they used to have Irish sing-songs. I had no idea whether members of the I.R.A. frequented this pub.
I do not recall saying to the Officer that I took the I.R.A. oath, or anything about the rules of the I.R.A.
These Officers were asking me about things I knew nothing whatever about, and I felt under enormous pressure after three days in custody. As long as they left me alone, I answered whatever I thought they wanted me to say, in order to satisfy them.
Because of the strain I was under, I told them that I had been to the Rotunda some time previously and with Hunter and Walker we placed bombs at the building. This is totally untrue, and I have never been involved in this bombing or any other.
I deny being associated with the I.R.A. or having any knowledge of its members; nor have I any connection with any bombings whatsoever.
With regard to my associations with my co-defendants:
Until about a fortnight before we were arrested, we had not met for about 2 years, and then in or about mid November, 1974, we chanced to meet in the Crossways and exchanged greetings, before I went off somewhere else.
We did not meet again until the 21st November, when we happened to come across one another outside the Golden Cross Public House, when Power was with Hunter. We discussed McDade’s funeral and we met again at New Street Station that evening.
We met some 5 years ago in Aston, and I have come across him fairly frequently at the Lozell’s Working Men’s Club and the local pubs. We were not particularly friendly, but had a nodding acquaintance.
We chanced to meet in August at the Working Men’s Club and again in September at the Gunmaker’s Pub, New Town. On neither occasion was there any conversation between us other than greetings. On the last occasion, McDade was in company with Brian Kearney who repaid me some money which he owed and then I left immediately afterwards.
McDade was extremely popular, because he used to sing at dances at the Crossways Public House and other places.
I had no idea that any of the above mentioned men were involved with any Movement or with any sinister activities. I knew, of course, that McIlkenny and Walker used to sell raffle tickets and conducted totes, and made collections for the Prisoners’ Dependents’ Funds for the families of internees - this had nothing whatever to do with the I.R.A.
STATEMENT OF HUGH CALLAGHAN (II)
On Thursday 21st November, 1974, the night of the bombings, I went to New Street Station to see off five men who you already know by papers. Before I went there, I went to Richard McIlkenny’s house to give the £1 I had owed him. He told me he was going home to Belfast along with John Walker and Gerard Hunter. So we went on a bus into the Station, where William Power was waiting. I didn’t know he was going, but Gerard Hunter had managed to meet him there. They got their tickers, so we went into the Bar for a drink. Gerard Hunter left the Bar to make telephone calls to his mother, but in order to get in touch with her, had to phone a Mr. Doherty, about getting a taxi, and also to get in touch with his mother about the return fare.
Patrick Hill arrived about 7.45 p.m., so when he came, no one was expecting him. The time had come to go to the platform, so I went and seen them off. There was nothing sinister talked about or happened. On Friday, I was arrested when I got home, accused of planting bombs. I was very shocked as I knew nothing like that ever happened. In the hands of the police, I was very badly treated. I was slapped across the face and kicked in the shins by two Officers. At night the cell door was left open. Police Officers took turns in sitting inside the cell staring at me. If I was dropping off to sleep, they would shout: "No sleeping for you." This happened for hours. They decided I should lie down, but as soon as I had done that, they had sent an alsatian dog in, smelling around me. I had to keep very still. If I had moved it may have savaged me. As I am a nervous type of person, who has had treatment for nervous disorder, I was terrified. I have an ulcer as well and was waiting to see a doctor about an operation, and it is essential that I eat often. I had asked for food on several occasions, but refused.
On Saturday, four Officers came in and told me to take my clothes off. I took them off and I was told to put a blanket around me. Then one of them put his fist up to my face and said: "You are going to make a statement." I said I knew nothing about what happened that night. They said I had planted bombs. I denied this. The same Officer said: "You are telling lies." As he was saying this, he was wrapping up my clothes which he had brought from my home and tied the string hard and dropped them on the floor. He unwrapped them and told me to put them on and take them off again. The one Officer was shouting like a raving lunatic and said: "If you do not make a statement, you will be bashed around the cells." I started to cry and shouted: "Please don’t beat me up, not here." They said: "If you don’t make a statement." I thought I was going to faint as I am not used to anything like that, and have never been in trouble with police before, only for being drunk and that was not my fault if my friend had have come about his business. They kept saying: "Where did you bomb?" I was a very frightened man, not because I had done anything, but because of what I was being accused of, such a terrible thing. My mind was blank. I did not care any more, as long as they left me alone. When they got what they wanted, which was not true, I came to my senses a bit. I said: "You can not use this statement as they wanted to know who I went with. I said I was involving another innocent man along with myself. Then the one Officer threatened me and said: "You stick to that." I was in terrible pain with my stomach, as I had been refused food. I asked again for something, even a drink of milk and biscuits. I was refused. They left. I was left alone. I just collapsed on the bench exhausted. No sleep. No food. Threatened. On the Saturday night the same thing again. No sleep. I was made to sit outside the cell on a chair. I asked for a glass of water. I was refused. This was the way I was until they took me away on Sunday. Going down in the car, I said: "That statement can not go through." One of them pulled out a gun and said: "You stick to what was said." The driver stopped the car and started it quickly again and said: "Let’s throw him in the lake." As I know the way they took me, there is a lake, I believed them. When I got to the other Police Station, they started asking me who was the head man. I said all I knew was that two of the men collected money for the P.D.F. fund. They said: "Come off it." I just could not care any more. I was in a terrible state, so that’s how it came about, "Brigadiers," Captains," and so forth. I am not a member of the I.R.A. and to the best of my knowledge, the other five men are not. I was given no food from I was arrested on Friday night, until I arrived at the Cantral Lock-up, Sunday night, when I was given a fish sandwich. I ate a bit to break my fast. The next morning a cup of tea with salt and urine in it. I took a drop and took sick. So this is what I have suffered. Also my wife and only daughter. My conscience is completely clear and I am not guilty of these charges and this account of what I have given you is completely true. So I don’t know what is going to happen. As I am a practising Catholic, I have prayed night and day that something will be done, and I hope that my prayers are answered.
Signed: Hugh Callaghan
LANCASHIRE CONSTABULARY -
LANCASHIRE CONSTABULARY -
Name of Person: WILLIAM POWER
I William Power wish to make a statement. I want you to write down what I say. I have been told that I need not say anything unless I wish to do so and that whatever I say may be given in evidence.
I’m glad it’s all come out, I’m worried about it, but I want to tell you the truth. The only thing is I am worried about what will happen to me and to my wife and kids, but I’m going to tell you anyway. It all started with me with the death of James McDaide. I used to work with him and I knew him. I support the Movement and thought I would help out by collecting money for it. I knew Jerry Hunter knew who was in the I.R.A., so I went up to his house to see him. This was last Sunday. I saw him and he said to call back up again on Monday or Tuesday, to see Johnny Walker, who was also in the I.R.A.
I went up to the Crossways on either Monday or Tuesday and saw Walker and Hunter. I asked could I help out by doing a collection for McDade's wife, and one of them said the best thing was to go home for the funeral. Hunter also said I would be able to help out before we went. I went up to see Hunter yesterday morning. (Thursday, 21st November, 1974), at about 11.00 a.m. He was in on his own. He told me to get the money for the fare to go over to the funeral and to meet him at New Street Station at about 6.30 p.m. I went back home and borrowed money of my brother-in-law and my wife. I left home just after 6 p.m. and went by bus to New Street Station. I got there Just after 6.30 p.m. I was the first there and the train I thought we were going on, left Just before 7.00 p.m. Hunter and Walker arrived with Hughie just after then, and then Richard also arrived. Walker was carrying a maroon holdall and two white plastic carrier bags. He was also carrying a black overcoat. Hunter was carrying three white plastic carrier bags, Richard was carrying one white plastic carrier bag and Hughie was carrying one bag. We went and got our tickets and then Hill joined us, he was carrying a suite case. Walker gave me the overcoat to put on and then gave me one of the white plastic bags he had been carrying and then told Richard to give me one as well. So he gave me one. Hughie gave Johnny Walker his white plastic bag and then walked away with Richard, leaving me, Walker and Hunter together. I think we all had two bags each. I certainly had two. Hill then joined us, he was carrying a suit case. Hughie then came back and we were standing all in a group. I said to them all: "I’m not taking these." I just knew what they were. There were bombs and I didn’t want to take them. Hughie said: "You’re going to take them, it’s not only you that you’ve got to worry about." Richard then came back and called Hughie over to the side. They talked together, then Hughie came back and said to me: "You have to take them to the pub at the side of the Rotunda." He just said to go round and put them in the pub. He said: "It will be easy, you’ve got half an hour or more and by then you’ll be on the train." He told me to go straight round and do it, so I started to walk away. I went out of the station and passed the Taxi Rank. I looked back and saw Hunter and Walker coming out behind me, carrying two bags each. I walked straight round to the Rotunda to the Mulberry Bush. I walked in from the left-hand side, as I came to it. I turned right inside and down a couple of steps, there were quite a few people in, so I walked over to the bar and put the bags down at my feet, because I was going to have a drink. I changed my mind and picked the bags up again, because I panicked and was going to take them out. I started to walk out and then I put the two bags down by the Juke Box, and then I walked straight back through the other door and went straight back to the station the way I came. When I got back there, the others weren’t there. A few minutes later, Walker and Hunter came back again. They weren’t carrying anything this time. Then Richard and Hill came back in from the other entrance. Richard was carrying the holdall and suit case and Hill was carrying a small case. Hughie didn’t come back at all. We all went to platform 9 together and got on the train that was already there. Soon afterwards it moved out. There were other people in the carriage, so we couldn’t talk much. We just had a game of cards. I was in a daze and couldn’t take anything in, I was so upset, because of what I had done. I just wish I hadn’t. The Police picked us up at Heysham and you know the rest. Jesus, I am sorry. I wish this day had never come. I have read the above statement and I have been told that I can correct, alter or add anything I wish. This statement is true, I have made it of my own freewill.
Statement taken down by me on 22/11/74, between 11.10 a.m. and 12.55 p.m. at Morecambe Police Station, read over to and by the maker and then signed and captioned by him.
Queen's Road Station, ‘D’ Division. 23/11/74.
Name: JOHN FRANCIS WALKER
Statement: I John Francis Walker, wish to make a statement. I want someone to write down what I say. I have been told that I need not say anything, unless I wish to do so and that whatever I do say may be given in evidence.
About four years ago I started to work for the I.R.A. My part in the Army was to collect money for the funds to buy weapons to fight the British. I started with Big Hugo, it was for the ‘County and Antrim Down.’ This went on for two and a half years, and I went to the New Inns in Nechell’s Park Road every Monday night and paid it to Big Fat John. After two and a half years, I was approached by Seamus McLaughlin, he lives in Holland Road, near the old ITV studios to collect money. This was a splinter group and I knew them to be the Provisionals. I bought prizes and sold tickets in the Crossways, The Kingstanding Ex-Servicemen’s and at my work at Forgings and Pressworks in Witton. The people who bought the tickets didn’t know what it was for, some of them did.
About 18 months ago, I was at a Provisional meeting in the White Horse In Nechell’s, when I met Martin Coughlan, my wife was with me, we had a meeting in the corner and my wife done her nut and said she wouldn’t go back there again, she was never involved in the bombings I tried, but she wouldn’t. At that meeting, James McDaid was singing and Gerry Young was playing the guitar. There was a blonde haired kid called Tony, and nearly all them kids that are in the nick now for bombings. I met a lad called Jimmy Ashe in Dublin at Bowdenstown, just outside Dublin, at a commemoration of the founder of the I.R.A., I think his name was Plunkett. James McDaid asked me if I would keep some stuff for him, wire batteries, tape, drawing pins and some pocket watches and some other stuff, it looked like explosives, there was no detonators, as far as I know, but sure I believe everybody, that’s the trouble, they could have given me anything, I wouldn’t have known, and I knew it was the bomb factory. It was always James McDaid that brought the ‘Parcels’ to my house and a Sinn Fein man, he must have been well up in the provisionals, came to my house and collected these parcels, he was about 30 - 40 years about five feet ten inches, well built, always wore a cap, and I think was a ‘Dubby’ very well spoken, I would say he was an educated man. He had a 1100 motor car, green. it had four doors, it was in good nick light brown upholstery. I knew when he was coming, because I had the phone in and he used to ring me up and tell me when he was coming. He would say, "I’m coming up John," when he got to the house, he said, "I’m here for the stuff John." It was always between 9.00 p.m. or 9.45 p.m., there was no particular day that he came. I know there was always an explosion afterwards, when he had been. I always gave the money I collected to Jamesy McDaid, or to the man that sells the Republican papers in the Crossways, I don’t know his name, but he’s a Belfast man. I want to tell you what happened this week, on Tuesday, 19th November, 1974. I was with Gerry Hunter. He’s in the I.R.A., but he’s not in my Battalion and Dick McIlkenny came into the bar in the Crossways. I think that Jamesy McDaid, Dick and Gerry are in the same Battalion. They asked me if I wanted to go to Belfast for Jamesy’s funeral. I hadn’t been to Belfast for 21 years, and I said I didn’t mind. I went to work then; On Wednesday, 20th November, 1974, Gerry Hunter, and Billy Powers came to my house with the Mass Cards for Jamesy McDaid. I left them at 12 o’clock outside St. Margaret Mary’s, Perry Common Road to get them signed. It was then that Billy asked if he could collect for McDaid’s wife and he was told he could do something before that. I went to work then. After work I went in the Crossways and met Gerry Hunter and some of the other lads and we all agreed to meet and go to Belfast on the Thursday. On Thursday, Dick and Hughie Callaghan came to my house about 6 o’clock, I had my ‘Parcel’ ready. We all went to Gerry Hunter’s house and he had his ‘Parcel’ ready as well. We caught the bus into Town and arrived at about 6.50 p.m. in Old Square. We walked down Canon Street into New Street and then to the Station. Billy Powers was waiting for us, I was shitting myself now. Making them and planting them is another thing. But Billy Powers was more scared than me. We all got our tickets and then went for a drink in the Railway Bar. That was when Paddy Joe came to us. Here Hughie wasn’t going to Belfast. I just remembered he got a platform ticket. Paddy Joe had his ‘Parcel’ as well. Do you know Jimmy, I don’t like to call parcels bombs, it’s funny, isn’t it. It was time to plant the ‘Parcels.’ Oh I was scared. Gerry and me went to a pub in New Street near the Odeon. I don’t know. I think it’s called The Tavern. I know we went down to lots of stairs, it was packed. It was not dark, but the lights were low, sort of, and you couldn’t see when you went in. We went straight to the bar, I was shaking by now. I just wanted out, Gerry wanted a drink, I said, let’s get out, we put the parcel down. I cannot remember what happened then, can you believe it, when I think about it I could cry, anyway we went back to the station and I met the rest, except Hughie, and that’s it. I’m sorry and I want to say before I finish that they have used me as a c... I want to apologise for all damage and injury that I have caused. I have brought complete shame on my family. I am full of sorrow and remorse.
I have read the above statement and I have been told that I can correct, alter or add anything I wish. This statement is true, I have made it of my own freewill.
This statement taken by me at Queen’s Road Police Station on Saturday, 23rd November, 1974, between 2 p.m. and 3.10 p.m., read over to and signed and captioned by him after he had been invited to make. any corrections, alterations or additions, thereto.
Name: NOEL RICHARD McILKENNY
I Noel Richard Mcllkenny, wish to make a statement. I want someone to write down what I say. I have been told that I need not say anything unless I wish to do so and that whatever I say may be given in evidence.
All this started because of James McDade. I was with him recently in the Ex-Servicemen’s Club in Kingstanding. He was a good mate of mine. I knew he was a Lieutenant in the I.R.A., it came as a terrible shock to me when I heard he had blown himself up accidentally at Coventry with McLaughlan. I was bitter when I read about it and saw the rubbish that the papers said. Last Thursday Hughie, that is Hughie Callaghan, came to my house in Epsom Grove, he came to see my kids. He is very fond of them and gives them money to buy sweets. At about five to six that night, (Thursday 21st November, 1974), I left my house with Hughie and went to Johnny Walker’s house at 39 Enderby Road, Kingstanding. Johnny was ready with his plastic bag, he put it in another bag and we all went round to Gerry Hunter’s house, it’s a new council house in Wyrley Way, it’s not far away, it was now about twenty past six, we went on a number 5 bus to Gerry Hunter’s house. We waited there while Gerry got his plastic bag ready and we then got another number 5 bus into town. We got off in Colmore Road by the Churchyard, cut through into New Street Station. We met Billy Powers by arrangement by the ticket offices, there were now five of us. Johnny had his goods in a blue holdall. I had my plastic bag in my holdall. We bought tickets, I got my own and Walker got his and Hunter’s and Power got his own. We then went into the Rail Bar and during the second round "Paddy Joe" Hill walked in with his bag. He was dead on time, it was twenty five to eight, he again turned up as arranged. We didn’t want it to be too obvious, because there was six of us. We all arranged beforehand some days before in the College Arms, to retaliate against Birmingham to do the bangs and go across to Belfast for McDade’s funeral, it was the least we could do to honour a good man. The train was due to leave from New Street at 7.56 p.m., arriving at Crewe at three minutes to nine, where we got the connection to Heysham for the night ferry boat to Belfast. We worked it out that we had about twenty minutes to half an hour to do the planting. The others finished their drinks, leaving me and P.J. (Paddy Joe Hill). We were supposed to give them a few minutes, so that we would draw attention to ourselves, by leaving as a bunch, we finished our drinks and P.J. got his plastic bag out of his case and we left and walked round to New Street. We went to a pub by the Odeon. We went in by going down some stairs, it was dark and smokey, and full of youngsters laughing and singing, I put my bag in an alcove and lit a fag, I looked round to make sure no one saw me, I don’t think they did, because it was so dark. We then went to the bar and acted as though we couldn’t get a drink, we looked round watching the kids and then left and went back to New Street Station. We went to the Rail Bar and met the others. We had to watch the time because of the time of the train leaving. We all went through the barrier together, having about five minutes to spare, we went to platform 9 and got on the train, which was already in, we sat in an open coach because we couldn’t find any compartments, we changed at Crewe and had a fifteen minute wait so we all had a cup of tea in the Buffet Bar, we got the beat train to Heysham, went through the barrier to get onto the ferry. The rest you know. I will not mention any other names or addresses, because I am scared what will happen to my wife and kids, all I would like to know is, who opened their mouth and told you about us. That’s all I am saying.
I have read the above statement and I have been told that I can correct, alter or add anything I wish. This statement is true, I have made it of my own free will.
Statement taken down by me in the Policewoman Inspector’s Office at Queen’s Road Police Station, between 11.20 a.m. and 12.05 p.m. on Saturday, 23rd November, 1974 and signed by the maker In my presence and of D.S. M.... and D.C. L…… , after being told that he could add, alter or delete anything contained therein.
23rd November, 1974.
Name: HUGH DANIEL CALLAGHAN
I Hugh Daniel Callaghan, wish to make a statement. I want someone to write down what I say, I have been told that I need not say anything unless I wish to do so and whatever I do say may be given in evidence.
On Thursday, (21.11.74), I went to the Crossways Pub, Erdington. I had a drink in the bar. I was on my own. When I was in there Johnnie Walker came in. I knew Johnnie was an I.R.A. sympathiser. I have known him for about 2 years, because he ran a tote and the money went to the I.R.A. He asked me if I was going to Coventry to McDade’s funeral. I told him that I might do. About a quarter of an hour later, Dick McIlkenny came and joined us. I knew he was a sympathiser as well, because he also collected money. Dick left after about ten minutes, he only had one drink. He said he was going to his work to get the money to go to Ireland for McDade’s funeral. Johnny left with Dick and I thought well that’s a good one, they never mentioned any more about going to Coventry. I stayed in the pub until just after closing time and then I went to the Kingstanding Ex-Servicemen’s Club. I walked it there and got into the Club at about five to three. I had a pint and a bottle in the Kingstanding, and spoke to a couple of blokes that I knew then. I decided to go up to Dick Mcllkenny’s house to see if he was going to Belfast that night. I walked up to Dick’s house in Epsom Grove, and he was in. I got there at about twenty to five. I sat with him for a bit and was playing with his little girl. Then his wife came in and asked him if he was going home to Belfast. He said that he was and then she asked me and I said that I wasn’t going. His wife made me a sandwich, but I only ate half of it. Dick also had some grub. Dick packed a case. I didn't see what he put in it, except his suit. After this we walked to Johnny Walker’s house in Enderby Road. We went into the house. Walker was ready and we left. Walker was carrying a duffle bag. It was one of those bags that have two handles on a holdall type of thing. He was also carrying a black Crombie coat. He put this between the handles of the holdall. We left the house, caught a 5A bus and went up to Gerard Hunter’s house in Wyrley Birch. I went upstairs to the toilet. We went into Hunter’s house by the back door and after I had been to the toilet, we all left by the back door and caught the 5A bus to town and went into the bar in New Street Station. When we went into the bar, Bill Powers was waiting there. I knew Bill, but I hadn’t seen him for a couple of years. Dick McIlkenny, Johnny Walker and Gerry Hunter went and got their tickets. When they came back I went and got a drink. I only got the four drinks and I had to go back up and get another, I asked them to go to the Mulberry Bush for a drink, but they wouldn’t. It’s cheaper there. Walker bought a drink just after and when we were just finishing that about a quarter to eight, Paddy Hill came into the bar. He was going to get a drink, but they told him not to bother, it was too expensive, and anyway he hadn’t time. Whilst I was in the bar I noticed that Walker and Hunter had got some white plastic bags. I hadn’t seen them before this. When we were about to leave the bar, Hunter gave us all a plastic bag with a bomb in, and told me to go to the Mulberry Bush with him and put them outside. I put my bomb on the main road-side of the Mulberry Bush, that’s the side where you can walk out of New Street Station. Gerry took his and put it round the other side. After this Gerry and me went back to the Station and I went into the bar to finish the drink that I had left there. My drink had gone, so I came straight out again and Hunter was going through the barrier to get to the trains. I went and bought a platform ticket and went with him. I went down onto the platform and stood waiting with Gerry. After a short while, the other four came onto the platform. The train came and the others got on it and I waved them off and started to make my way home. When I got to the ticket barrier, a coloured man asked me for my ticket, but I couldn’t find it, but he just told me to carry on. I walked off the station past the Mulberry Bush round the corner into High Street, past the bookies shop on the corner, then into New Street and into Yate’s in Corporation Street. I bought myself a drink. I spoke to a bloke I know, John Fenan in there. I’ve known him for some time, I used to knock about with his brother-in-law, Billy Murphy. He lives in Sparkbrook, but I haven’t seen him for years and years. Whilst I was in there the lights went out because there was a bomb scare, so I went with John out of the back of Yate’s and into the Windsor Pub. I had only been in there a few minutes, when some policemen came in and said there was a bomb. I came out, saw all the ambulances and I knew the bomb had gone off. I was so frightened then that I just ran and caught the 5A bus in Corporation Street by Rackham’s somewhere to get home. When Gerry gave me the bomb, he only told me to put it down. He didn’t tell me to do anything else with it. I didn’t want to kill anybody, I’m sorry I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m not even a member of the I.R.A.
I have read the above statement and I have been told that I can correct, alter or add anything I wish. This statement is true, I have made it of my own free will.
This statement taken down by me at Sutton Coldfield Police Station, on Saturday, 23rd November, 1974. Statement commenced at 3.05 p.m. and concluded at 4.30 p.m. on the same date.
CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.
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