Guildford Four's Gerry Conlon dies: Man wrongly jailed for 15 years for pub bombing dies aged 60 in Belfast
Family pay tribute to man who 'changed the course of history'
Saturday 21 June 2014
Gerry Conlon, who spent 15 years in prison after being wrongly convicted for the IRA Guildford pub bombings, has died aged 60.
He and other members of the Guildford Four served part of their life sentences for that attack that killed five people and injured 65 more before they were cleared in 1989.
Doubts were raised about the police evidence against Mr Conlon and his co-defendants Paul Hill, Carole Richardson and Paddy Armstrong and an investigation into Surrey Police’s handling of the care found serious failings.
It was one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British history but an inquiry in 2009 found that an establishment cover-up was not to blame.
Emerging from the Court of Appeal a free man in 1989, Mr Conlon said: “I have been in prison for something I did not do. I am totally innocent.”
In 1991, sentences for the Maguire Seven, who were arrested because of a family connection to Mr Conlon, were also overturned.
Tony Blair, then the Prime Minister, wrote the 11 people wrongly imprisoned letters of apology in 2005.
Mr Conlon’s autobiography, Proved Innocent, told of his battle for justice through the ordeal.
Gerry Conlon outside the Old Bailey in London after being released in 1989 It was adapted for the Oscar-nominated film In the Name of the Father, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis and Emma Thompson.
In later life, he joined a campaign to free the “Craigavon Two” - Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton – convicted of murdering a police officer in Northern Ireland.
Read more: Guildford Four 'plot' dismissed
Interview with Sarah Conlon, Gerry's mother
Blair apologises for bombing 'injustice'
A statement from his family said he died on Saturday morning.
It continued: "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."
Additional reporting by PA
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Scottish independence referendum results: David Cameron pledges plans for 'English votes for English laws' by January
Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...