A look back on the 40th anniversary year of the Birmingham pub bombings

The devastation of the pub bombings, 40 years ago Credit: ITV News Central

This year has seen the fortieth anniversary of the Birmingham pub bombings.

There had been hopes that West Midlands Police might re-open the case and make arrests - but the force said there wasn't enough new evidence.

It's 23 years since the original suspects - the Birmingham Six - had their convictions quashed amid a series of miscarriages of justice.

Forty years on, it was a year of remembrance. A year of sadness and frustration for the relatives of those who died in England's biggest unsolved mass murder.

Two pubs were destroyed in the attack, and 21 people killed Credit: ITV News Central

A year of anger for those who'd faced injustice - like Paddy Hill who was wrongly jailed for 16 years for the bombings - when the real killers went free.

The Birmingham Six (from left top): Patrick Hill, Hugh Callaghan and John Walker. Bottom; Richard McIlkenny, Gerard Hunter and William Power. Credit: PA Images
Paddy Hill Credit: ITV News Central

It was a year in which police admitted they had lost evidence from the bombings - including an unexploded bomb.

- Julie and Brian Hambleton. Their sister Maxine died in the bombings.

It was a year of conspiracy theories.

A year of conspiracy claims. Claims that the police know exactly who bombed Birmingham - group of men who got off scot free.

Claims that are supported by an ex-policeman who lost a brother in the atrocity.

It was a year in which West Midlands Police said there wasn't enough new evidence to re-open the case and arrest new suspects for the 21 murders.

- Chief Constable Chris Sims, West Midlands Police, speaking in April

In the 40th year we took Paddy Hill back to the prison in Lancaster where he had been held during the trial of the Birmingham Six.

Paddy Hill in the cell where he was held Credit: ITV News Central

It was a year to remember.

And for the survivors to count their blessings:

At a special concert, recognition for the emergency services - including the police - who risked their lives to help others.

The concert to mark the anniversary. Credit: ITV News Central

40 years on, and well deserved praise for the heroism of the night.

Commemorations tainted though by the unanswered question:

When will the truth come out?