Julie Hambleton, sister of Birmingham pub bombings victim Maxine HambletonCredit:Ben Birchall/PA Members of the relatives’ campaign group Justice4the21 said they were seeking legal advice with a view to appealing against yesterday’s decision.The bombings, carried out on November 21, killed 21 people and injured 182 enjoying a night out, making it the deadliest peacetime attack in the UK at the time.Six men, known as the Birmingham Six, were wrongly imprisoned for the murders and served 17 years behind bars in what was one of Britain’s most infamous miscarriages of justice. Their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991.Five West Midlands Police officers were charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with the original investigation, but in 1993 a judge ruled that a fair trial would be impossible.Hayes was named by Granada TV in 1990 as one of two men who had planted the bombs.Last year he spoke publicly for the first time, telling BBC News that he and the other members of his IRA unit in Birmingham were “horrified when we heard [the result of the bombings] because it was not intended”. The High Court decision followed a judicial review brought on behalf of the bereaved families by Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine was just 18 when she was killed in the bombings.Speaking in the grounds of Birmingham’s Anglican Cathedral, near a memorial to the victims, Mrs Hambleton said: “Without the perpetrator issue being a part of the scope (of the inquest) how can you ever possibly finish the jigsaw? You have got a major part of it missing.”We feel as though we’ve been punched in the stomach again. What we do, we do for 21 people who aren’t here to do it for themselves.”They don’t have a voice, they don’t have a physical presence, but we do so we are their voice.”Mrs Hambleton added: “We are clearly very disappointed and we feel rejected but we will continue to fight for truth, justice and accountability.”We will take stock, speak to our legal team and get their assessment of the decision – and then either decide to appeal or just to continue on with the inquest process. But Lord Burnett, Lady Justice Hallett and Lord Justice McCombe yesterday ruled that the coroner’s decision “is not open to legal objection”. The Birmingham Six outside the Old bailey in London, after their convictions were quashedCredit:Sean Dempsey/PA Firefighters at Birmingham’s Mulberry Bush pub following the blastCredit:The Daily Telegraph Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “We are continually traumatised every single time we have to do interviews and go to court, but we will dust ourselves down and continue to fight.” He went on to claim he personally defused a third bomb, but refused to say whether he had been one of the two men to plant the device or name those who did. Hugh Southey QC, representing the families, told the appeal judges: “There is the utmost public interest in the proper investigation of who was responsible for the Birmingham bombings.”The families of the deceased said to the appellant (Sir Peter) that the investigation of this issue was so important to them that if it did not form part of the scope of the inquest ‘we may as well not have an inquest at all’.”Hugh Southey QC, representing the families, told the appeal judges: “There is the utmost public interest in the proper investigation of who was responsible for the Birmingham bombings”But in giving a summary of the court’s judgment, Lord Burnett said Sir Peter “was invited to explore as a distinct issue at the inquests the identities of those responsible for the bombings.”The statutory scheme provides that neither he nor the jury can name anyone they believe responsible; and exhaustive police inquiries since the acquittal of those originally convicted for the bombings have been unable to do so.” The families of those killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings said they had been robbed of the chance of justice after the Court of Appeal upheld a coroner’s decision not to name those responsible for the outrage.Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett and two other Court of Appeal judges ruled that Sir Peter Thornton QC had made “no error of law” in reaching his decision not to investigate the identities of those who carried out the atrocity.Relatives of the 21 people killed when the IRA blew up the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town in Birmingham city centre said they felt as if they had been “punched in the stomach” following the decision, but vowed to keep fighting for the truth.A self-confessed IRA bomb maker last year apologised for the deaths and injuries he had caused, saying it was not the IRA’s intention to kill innocent people.But Michael Christopher Hayes, who now lives in south Belfast, refused to name other members of the IRA cell he says planted the devices, saying he would rather die than become an “informer”.In January, two High Court judges sitting in Birmingham ordered Sir Peter to reconsider his decision not to name the suspected bomber, following a successful judicial review action by bereaved families.