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Guildford Four’s Gerry Conlon dies

October 1989 - 
Flanked by his sisters, Gerry Conlon emerges from the Old Bailey, the Guildford Four's convictions finally quashed.

October 1989 - Flanked by his sisters, Gerry Conlon emerges from the Old Bailey, the Guildford Four's convictions finally quashed.

Gerry Conlon, who was wrongly convicted of the 1974 IRA Guildford pub bombing, has died aged 60, his family have announced.

Mr Conlon and the rest of the Guildford Four served 14 years of a life sentence for the attack which killed five people and injured 65, before their convictions were overturned in 1989.

He was later played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film In The Name Of The Father.

Mr Conlon’s family issued a statement through his lawyer Gareth Peirce on Saturday.

It said: “This morning we lost our Gerry.

“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.”

Mr Conlon died in his home in the Falls Road area of Belfast after a lengthy illness.

Alex Attwood, SDLP MLA for the area, paid tribute to him. “He’d given an awful lot but yet had so much more to give,” Mr Attwood said.

“What he learned from his time in prison and campaign for release was the importance of not only raging against his own injustice but fighting for those who had also suffered miscarriages of justice.”

Mr Attwood added: “He’s now with his dad and his mum.”

Mr Conlon’s father Giuseppe, who was jailed as part of a discredited investigation into a supposed bomb making family – the Maguire Seven – died after five years in jail.

His mother Sarah, a tireless campaigner for their freedom, died in 2008, aged 82.

In 2009 Mr Conlon wrote about the personal and emotional battles he suffered as a result of his incarceration and fight for freedom.

He suffered two breakdowns, attempted suicide and became addicted to drugs and alcohol following his release.

 

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