Bomb case man freed as alibi is accepted

AN IRISHMAN charged over an IRA bomb attack on Whitehall was freed yesterday after the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence against him.

It also emerged that although three witnesses had picked out Patrick Murphy, 52, as one of two men who had ordered a minicab driver to take them to Downing Street with a bomb on the back seat, a large number of other people had made statements to police that he was at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous at the time.

After his release by magistrates at Arbour Square in east London, Mr Murphy, of Hayes, west London, said: 'I feel relieved and angry at the same time. It's been a very worrying time. To be inside, not knowing what the outcome is going to be, is a worrying situation.'

Mr Murphy, who is unemployed, was arrested by Anti-Terrorist Branch detectives in January. He was picked out at an identity parade by the minicab driver, another driver who picked up the two terrorists afterwards and a bystander. Mr Murphy's family maintained his innocence and it was eventually established that on the night of the incident, he had been at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in Uxbridge.

At preliminary court hearings, Mr Murphy's solicitor, Gareth Peirce, had urged the Crown to interview witnesses who supported Mr Murphy's account.

Diane Shammah, for the CPS, told yesterday's specially convened hearing that police had now taken statements from people who had attended the meeting. 'In the circumstances, mindful as we are of the inherent risks involved in prosecution, which relies principally on identification evidence and upon little by way of evidence in support, we have concluded after much careful and anxious consideration that the available evidence does not give rise to a realistic prospect of conviction.'

Ms Peirce said after the hearing: 'Mr Murphy was required to prove his innocence. If he had not been able to do that, this could have easily turned into a miscarriage of justice. It is a very alarming state of affairs.'