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)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride