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'

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.

File photo dated 19/10/89 of Gerry Conlon (centre), outside the Old Bailey in London after being released for being wrongly convicted of the Guilford pub bombings, 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

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

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Business Development Manager / Sales

£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...

Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

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