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

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Gordon Ramsay 'lucky to be alive' as star shows off shocking injuries after being involved 'brutal' cycling accident

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world in Switzerland

Putin is 'not interested in genuine peace' in Ukraine, Rishi Sunak tells world leaders in Switzerland

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

Kate's big comeback: Princess and William share tender moment as she re-joins royals at Trooping the Colour

The attack, which took place in a garden east Germany on Friday night, saw the knifeman stab four people before police arrived at the scene.

German police shoot dead knifeman at Euro 2024 party after rampage leaves one dead and three injured

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Businessman sues Apple after wife finds ‘deleted’ iPhone messages to prostitute

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins is bankrupt, homeless and has "lost absolutely everything", according to his lawyer.

Olympic cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins has 'lost absolutely everything' as star faces selling medals following bankruptcy

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer promises no capital gains tax on sales of homes as he dismisses tax hike claims

Home Secretary calls for 'urgent investigation' after shock footage emerges of police ramming escaped cow

Fury grows as shock footage shows police ramming escaped cow with squad car

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza - as Palestinian death toll reaches '37,000'

Eight Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack since January

Prince Louis steals the show as he dances along to bagpipes at Trooping the Colour

Prince Louis steals the show as he dances along to bagpipes on Buckingham Palace balcony

Coventry's Radford Road, where the schoolboy was killed

Schoolboy killed in hit and run as police urgently look for driver

Police rammed the cow

Shock as police ram escaped cow on the street, as officers say it 'was hurt while being moved to safety'

Exclusive
c

Angela Rayner condemns 'intimidation' of Labour's Rosie Duffield after she cancels hustings amid 'trolling and spite'

Kate and the royals came out on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the flypast

Kate joins King Charles and other royals on Buckingham Palace balcony for RAF flypast after Trooping the Colour

Exclusive
Ben Habib has hit back at suggestions Nigel Farage could join the Conservative party

Reform deputy hits back at suggestion Nigel Farage could join Tories, after leader tells LBC he could lead merged party

Olympic rings on the Eiffel Tower in Paris

IOC gives 14 Russians and 11 Belarusians neutral status for Paris Olympics