No charges in Birmingham pub bombings investigation as prosecutors say there's not enough evidence

21 August 2023, 19:50

No charges will be brought in the renewed investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings
No charges will be brought in the renewed investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Kit Heren

A reopened investigation into the worst-ever unsolved terrorist attack on the British mainland will not bring any charges.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Investigators said there was not enough evidence to work out who planted the Birmingham pub bombs that killed 21 people in 1974 - despite a "thorough and careful" review.

The families of the victims had hoped that the renewed investigation by West Midlands Police would result in the killers being identified.

West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Jayne Meir said: "We submitted all the evidence available to the Crown Prosecution Service for their consideration and we note their decision.

"Our thoughts remain with the families and victims of this terrible atrocity. We remain committed to bringing to justice those responsible for the Birmingham pub bombings."

Read more: Jury Finds Botched Warning Call Led To 21 Deaths In Birmingham Pub Bombings

Read more: Man, 65, released after arrest in Belfast over 1974 Birmingham pub bombings

Damage and debris at the Mulberry Bush pub
Damage and debris at the Mulberry Bush pub. Picture: Getty

But the CPS said that the evidence submitted by West Midlands Police was insufficient.

Staff added that they would continue to support police should there be further lines of enquiry.

More than 200 people were injured, alongside the 21 killed, as two bombs exploded in the Tavern in the Town and Mulberry Bush pubs on November 21, 1974.

A third bomb failed to go off and was recovered. West Midlands Police later lost it.

Six Irish men - Hugh Callaghan, Paddy Hill, Gerry Hunter, John Walker, Richard McIlkenny and Billy Power - were wrongly convicted over the attacks and jailed for life in 1975.

Supporters of Justice for the 21, the group set up by families of the victims
Supporters of Justice for the 21, the group set up by families of the victims. Picture: Getty

They were freed in 1991 after the Court of Appeal ruled their convictions were unsafe.

Inquests into the deaths were held in Birmingham in 2019, where an anonymous witness, named Witness O, named the perpetrators as Mick Murray, Seamus McLoughlin and James Francis Gavin, who have since died, and Michael Hayes, who admitted on television in 2017 to being involved in the bomb plot.

West Midlands Police lost a court appeal in 2020 to force the journalist Chris Mullin to hand over source material from the 1980s which was said to contain a confession from the true perpetrator of the crimes.

In a letter to the victims' families, the CPS said that it did not have sufficient evidence to identify who made the confession to Mr Mullin and that it was unlikely that a new court order compelling him to reveal the source would be granted.

Hospital staff in a busy corridor in the aftermath of the Birmingham pub bombings
Hospital staff in a busy corridor in the aftermath of the Birmingham pub bombings. Picture: Getty

Nick Price, head of the CPS Special Crime and Counter Terrorism Division, said: "The Birmingham pub bombings were a terrorist atrocity which cut short the lives of 21 people and injured many more who were simply seeking to enjoy their evening.

"The attack has brought such unimaginable grief and our thoughts remain with the family, friends and every one of the victims."

The victims' families, through the Justice4the21 campaign group, have long been calling for a public inquiry into the attack.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Christian Horner has been cleared of inappropriate behaviour

Geri Halliwell 'relieved and elated' after F1 boss husband Christian Horner is cleared after Red Bull investigation

Dame Esther said she was "disappointed" at no clear call for a vote on assisted dying

‘The law is a mess’: Dame Esther Rantzen issues fresh call for free vote on assisted dying

Canada Gaza Strip Aid

Canada says it is working to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip as soon as possible

Mark Feehily announced he's temporarily stepping away from the band amid health struggles.

Westlife star Mark Feehily reveals he’s standing down from the band just days before US tour leaving fans devastated

The Duke of Sussex took legal action against the Home Office over a decision in 2020 to change the level of his personal security

Prince Harry faces £1m bill after losing High Court challenge over taxpayer funded police protection

Rishi Sunak has warned 'mob rule' is threatening to 'replace democratic rule'.

End descent into ‘mob rule’ and shut down intimidating protests, Rishi Sunak tells police amid threats to MPs


President Joe Biden declared ‘fit for duty’ after annual medical test

Thomas Kingston died aged 45.

Lady Gabriella Windsor's husband Thomas Kingston 'died at his parents' £3m country mansion'


Supreme Court to rule if Trump can be prosecuted in election interference case

Richard Lewis has died aged 76.

Curb Your Enthusiasm star Richard Lewis dies aged 76 after suffering heart attack

Obit Richard Lewis

Richard Lewis, humorously morose star of Curb Your Enthusiasm, dies aged 76

Robert Brown's lost his bid for parole.

BA pilot Robert Brown who bludgeoned wife to death with claw hammer loses bid for early prison release

Film Oscars-Guide

Everything you need to know about this year’s Oscars ceremony

It is understood that RedBird IMI is offering to help pay the £1.16 billion in debts that the current owners, the Barclay family, owe to Lloyds Bank.

Foreign governments must be banned from owning British newspapers, says former Tory cabinet minister

Creech was due to be taken to the execution chamber where he would be strapped down onto a medical table.

Death row execution abandoned after officials 'unable' to give lethal injection - with inmate's death warrant to expire

Mexico volcano

Flights cancelled as Mexico’s Popocatepetl volcano erupts