Guildford Four’s Gerry Conlon dies

Gerry Conlon received an apology from then Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2005

Sad day today, one of the 4 accused of a bombing has passed away. Accused of being a republican member of the IRA Gerry one of 4 were jailed for life, they spent 15 years and got out on appeal, due to shoddy police work, they were set up from the start. I only hope in the final years of his life Gerry had a good life. R.I.P to a brilliant man. Shamed by England for a crime he and the other 3 never done. Makes you wonder how many other innocent people believed to be IRA members are in prison due to Thatcherism ways

Gerry Conlon, who spent 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, has died at the age of 60. Mr Conlon was wrongly convicted of the 1974 Guildford IRA pub bombing that killed five people and injured 65. He was one of the Guildford Four, whose convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1989. Mr Conlon’s case was highlighted in the 1993 Oscar-nominated film In The Name Of The Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

In the Name of the Father Official Trailer 

Gerry Conlon, pictured with his sisters after being released at the Old Bailey in 1989

Mr Conlon, pictured in 2013 at the funeral of SDLP MP Eddie McGrady

The Reality

Mr Conlon’s father Giuseppe was arrested when travelling to London from Belfast to help his son. He died while serving his sentence. In 2005, the then Prime Minister Tony Blair apologised for the miscarriage of justice. In October 1989, the Court of Appeal quashed the sentences of the Guildford Four – Gerry Conlon, Paul Hill, Carole Richardson and Paddy Armstrong – amid doubts raised about the police evidence against them. An investigation into the case by Avon and Somerset Police found serious flaws in the way Surrey Police handled the case – considered to be one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in Britain. Emerging from the Appeal Court a free man, Mr Conlon declared: “I have been in prison for something I did not do. I am totally innocent.” In June 1991 it overturned the sentences on the Maguire Seven, who were all arrested because of a family connection to Mr Conlon.

In a statement issued through his lawyer Gareth Peirce, Mr Conlon’s family said: “He brought life, love, intelligence, wit and strength to our family through its darkest hours. “He helped us to survive what we were not meant to survive. “We recognise that what he achieved by fighting for justice for us had a far, far greater importance – it forced the world’s closed eyes to be opened to injustice; it forced unimaginable wickedness to be acknowledged; we believe it changed the course of history. “We thank him for his life and we thank all his many friends for their love.”

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