Birmingham & Black Country

Service marks Birmingham pub bombings 45th anniversary

Victims (top row left to right) Neil Marsh (silhouette), Lynn (Lyn) Bennett, Trevor Thrupp, Paul Davies, Michael Beasley, Marilyn Nash and Charles Gray (second row, left to right) Desmond Reilly, Stephen Whalley, Pamela Palmer, Maxine Hambleton, Jane Davis, James Caddick and Thomas Chaytor (third row, left to right) John Clifford Jones, James Craig, Ann Hayes, Stanley Bodman, Maureen Roberts, Eugene Reilly and John Rowlands
Image caption The victims of the 1974 bombings were aged between 16 and 51

A memorial service has taken place on the 45th anniversary of the Birmingham pub bombings.

Twenty one people died and 220 were injured in the blasts at the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs on 21 November 1974.

The service was held at memorial trees on Grand Central Plaza outside New Street station at 20:00 GMT.

An "inadequate" IRA warning call caused or contributed to the deaths, an inquest jury found in April.

Jurors concluded there were no errors in the way police responded to the warning call and their actions did not contribute to the loss of life.

Victims' families have called on police to bring the killers "to justice".

West Midlands Police said its investigation into the bombings was active.

Image caption The service was held at memorial trees on Grand Central Plaza outside New Street station

Speaking at the service, Andy Street, Conservative Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, said: "We stand together to mark the darkest night of Birmingham's history and we hope indeed that we can indeed bring closure for everybody's sake.

"I've discussed that situation with the last three home secretaries and against that background, I've come to the conclusion that the time is now right for a panel-led, open public inquiry into what happened here that night."

Mr Street said he had already discussed his intention with the current Home Secretary Priti Patel "because, just as with the Hillsborough tragedy, my view now is that only a public inquiry can provide the answers that the families deserve".

The inquests came about after years of campaigning by families for a full account into what happened that night.

A botched police investigation led to the 1975 jailing of the Birmingham Six, but their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1991.

A third bomb was planted near the Barclays Bank on Hagley Road but failed to properly detonate that night.

Last November to mark the 44th anniversary, three steel trees - with "leaves" bearing the names of each of the 21 victims - were unveiled outside New Street Station.

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