Tributes paid at 48th anniversary memorial of Birmingham pub bombings

The Birmingham pub bombing memorial will be illuminated from tonight Credit: ITV News Central

A ceremony is being held today in memory of the victims of the Birmingham pub bombings, which happened 48 years ago.

The remembrance service is taking place at the memorial trees outside Birmingham's New Street station.

The memorial trees provide relatives of the attack and people in the city a place of reflection and remembrance for those affected. In the service, these trees will be permanently illuminated.

Twenty-one people died and 182 were injured during the attacks 48 years ago today. The sculpture's "leaves" represent the 21 victims and has their names engraved.

Meanwhile, it has also been revealed today, on the 48th anniversary, that police investigating the Birmingham pub bombings have sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The file is believed to be linked to possible offences, will be reviewed by the CPS before February 2023.

The CPS Counter Terrorism Department will consider the evidence and may bring charges against an unnamed individual.

The 21 victims of the Birmingham pub bombings

Campaign group Justice4the21 revealed the CPS had confirmed receipt of the file which the West Midlands force has sent it for review.

A J4the21 spokesman said: “We do not know the contents of this file, but we conclude that it relates to possible offences arising from the pub bombings 1974.

"Our legal team [...] has requested the CPS complete its review of the West Midlands Police file by February 2023 and to make a decision regarding any prosecutions relating to the pub bombings."

“It is a sad irony that the West Midlands Police should convey this information to us just prior to the anniversary of the pub bombings.

"It is ironic for two reasons. First, the fact that it has been 10 years since J4the21 approached the WMP to investigate the bombings and three years since the conclusion of the resumed inquest into the bombings, which the WMP resisted."

He added: “Second, the fact that a police prosecution file should only just be sent to the CPS following the retirement of the current Chief Constable and adverse media around his final comments on the pub bombings.

"In addition, the WMP will no doubt imply that this action demonstrates a ‘live’ investigation into the pub bombings, a fact the Home Office will rely upon to deny us a statutory public inquiry which we have been demanding since the inquest."

He said the position of J4the21 remained constant.

“First, prosecution of those responsible for the bombings is one of the goals in our campaign for truth, justice, and accountability," the spokesman added.

What happened?

The Birmingham Pub Bombings happened on November 21, 1974.

Bombs were planted in two Birmingham pubs - the Mulberry Bush and the Tavern in the Town, now known as the Yard of Ale.

The explosions killed some 21 people and injured 182 others.

Six men - the so-called Birmingham Six - were jailed for life for the bombings but released 16 years later, in 1991, when their convictions were lifted by the Court of Appeal.

In keeping with the tradition since its opening, the Birmingham Irish Association and the Misneach committee will be holding a memorial service at the trees on the 21 November.The official opening of permanent lighting on the memorial trees has been funded by Network Rail and the Irish Government of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation fund.