The families of the 21 people killed in the Birmingham pub bombings have been told a police reinvestigation of the 1974 atrocities has failed and will lead to no criminal charges, the Guardian has learned.
The fresh disappointment led the bereaved families to accuse the authorities of a continuing cover-up and the government of disrespecting their suffering.
West Midlands police submitted a file of evidence in 2022 to the Crown Prosecution Service about a single suspect allegedly involved in the attacks carried out in the name of the Provisional IRA.
The CPS has decided there is insufficient evidence to prosecute, despite various suspects being named, and one confessing on television to involvement to the plot.
The bombings of two Birmingham city centre pubs is the worst unsolved terrorist atrocity in Great Britain and next year is its 50th anniversary.
The families fear they may never see justice done in the criminal courts.
Six men were wrongly convicted of the bombings after abuses by police and their names were only finally cleared in 1991.
Central to that injustice being exposed was the work of journalists, including Chris Mullin.
He gained a confession from an IRA activist, known publicly only as the “young planter”.
It was this man the West Midlands police reinvestigation focused on, an official legal letter seen by the Guardian reveals.
A CPS letter to the families explaining its decision not to prosecute says: “There is evidence that a confession was made to Mr Mullin but we do not have sufficient evidence to enable the prosecution to positively identify who made the confession to him.”
Prosecutors considered forcing Mullin to name his source, the letter reveals: “It is highly likely that a court would refuse to order that Mr Mullin provide answers to any questions asked that might