Detectives 'lied about Guildford Four notes': Terry Kirby reports on accusations that police tampered with confessions to gain bomb convictions

THREE Surrey detectives lied about vital notes of confessions claimed to have been made by Patrick Armstrong, one of the Guildford Four, to 'bolster their evidence' at his 1975 trial, an Old Bailey jury was told yesterday.

Julian Bevan, for the prosecution, said rough, typewritten notes of the interviews with Mr Armstrong, containing amendments and additions, discovered in May 1989, came before the notes of the confessions. 'The notes were manufactured in order to give their evidence credence,' he said.

A detailed comparison showed 'major differences' suggesting 'the typewritten notes must have been made before the handwritten notes ever came into existence.'

The typewritten notes were discovered in files during inquiries by Avon and Somerset police in preparation for the appeal of the Four in October 1989, when they were released.

Thomas Style, 59, a former detective chief inspector, John Donaldson, 57, a former detective sergeant, and Vernon Attwell, 52, a former detective constable, all deny conspiring together between October 1974 and October 1975 to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Bevan said that in 1974 it had not been police practice to record interviews with suspects contemporaneously, but where it occurred, the interviews achieved a higher degree of reliability.

Mr Bevan said Mr Armstrong, then 24, had been arrested by Surrey police along with the three other members of what had become known as the Guildford Four - Paul Hill, Gerald Conlon, both then 20, and Carole Richardson, 17 - for the bombings of public houses in Guildford and Woolwich in autumn 1974.

The following day, Mr Attwell made notes of an interview between the detectives and Mr Armstrong. He named Mr Conlon and Mr Hill as IRA 'lieutenants' and described a trip to Guildford with both of them and Ms Richardson in a car driven by another man, named as Paul Coleman. He said he kept watch while Ms Richardson and Mr Conlon planted a bomb in a public house.

Mr Bevan said during the interview Mr Armstrong was confronted with Mr Coleman but that when the handwritten notes were compared with the typed ones there was a 'complete shift in times and . . . a complete change in what was actually said'.

At the end of the two-and-a-half- hour interrogation, Mr Armstrong signed a statement, which Mr Style wrote out, repeating the substance of the interview. Mr Bevan said the contemporaneous interview and the written statement gave the prosecution 'a very strong case'.

'At the trial . . . these three defendents denied that Armstrong had been hit, reduced to tears, intimidated and that most of these admissions were in response to suggestions. (They) refuted the allegations, saying the handwritten notes were contemporaneously written.'

Mr Bevan added: 'The . . . truth is that these so-called contemporaneous notes were not contemporaneous at all but were compiled after the interview itself. It is the Crown's case that these three defendents lied about the origins of these notes in order to bolster their evidence.'

The following day, when notes were made by Mr Donaldson, Mr Armstrong allegedly made further confessions. He also changed his story to say he had planted the bomb with Ms Richardson.

Mr Bevan said Mr Style was recorded in the contemporaneous notes as leaving the room for 50 minutes but timings in the typewritten notes were different.

After Mr Armstrong was charged, he admitted the bombings during interviews with Scotland Yard officers, including Sir Peter Imbert, former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, then a detective superintendent. Mr Armstrong made no complaint about treatment, Mr Bevan said.

The Surrey detectives had suggested the typewritten notes were made after the contemporaneous notes for internal police purposes, with speed paramount over accuracy.

It was said they had then been given to police typists for assistance. Mr Bevan said: 'The crucial question is which came first . . . my submission is that the typed came first.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before