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1974: Six charged over Birmingham pub bombs

Police have charged six men in connection with the Birmingham pub bombings three days ago.

Hugh Callaghan, Patrick Hill, Robert Hunter, Noel McIlkenny, William Power and John Walker have been accused of the murder of the youngest victim of the attacks.

Jane Davis, 17, was one of 19 people who died when bombs exploded in the Mulberry House and the Tavern in the Town on 21 November.

A massive security operation is expected to be launched in Birmingham tomorrow, when the six accused men will appear in a hearing at the Victoria law courts.

Assistant Chief Constable Maurice Buck, who has been leading the investigation, said they had been apprehended on the night of the attacks.

'Inquiries will continue'

Five of the alleged bombers - who are from Northern Ireland but have been resident in England for at least 11 years - were arrested on the Belfast ferry at Heysham. Mr Callaghan was arrested in Birmingham.

All of the men had been living in the city, but Mr Buck declined to give their addresses "for security reasons".

The assistant chief constable told reporters they would be charged soon in connection with the deaths of the other 18 victims.

"We are satisfied that we have found the men primarily responsible but our inquiries will continue," he said.

In Context
The so-called Birmingham Six were found guilty in August 1975 of carrying out the bombings and sentenced to life imprisonment.

But they were released after 16 years in jail when their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in May 1991.

The real bombers have never been prosecuted and no group has ever admitted planting devices.

Three detectives were charged with perjury and conspiracy in connection with the investigation, but their trial was halted in 1993 on the grounds of prejudicial media coverage.

The six men finally agreed undisclosed compensation settlements in June 2002 - more than 10 years after they were freed.


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