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
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
First-time buyers in London 'need to earn at least £77,000'
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£30 - 40k (£65k Y1 OTE Uncapped): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Business Deve...
Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...
£30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...