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Gerry Conlon's sister calls for secret Guildford Four papers to be made public

Published 27/10/2016

Gerry Conlon outside the House of Commons in 2005 showing the media the letter of apology he received from Prime Minister Tony Blair over his conviction
Gerry Conlon outside the House of Commons in 2005 showing the media the letter of apology he received from Prime Minister Tony Blair over his conviction

The sister of the Guildford Four's Gerry Conlon has called for secret papers on his case to be made public.

The 60-year-old west Belfast man was one of four people wrongly imprisoned for the 1974 IRA Guildford pub bombings.

Gerry Conlon and the rest of the Guildford Four – Paddy Armstrong, Paul Hill and Carole Richardson – got life sentences in 1975 for IRA attacks in Guildford which killed five people and injured 65, before their convictions were overturned in 1989.

An investigation by Avon and Somerset Police found serious flaws in the way Surrey Police handled the case.

It was considered one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

Mr Conlon died in 2014 weeks after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Now his sister Ann McKernan has said releasing the documents would help reveal the truth.

It was her brother's dying wish to see the evidence gathered as part of an inquiry into the case made public.

The first six files from Sir John May's five-year probe into the bombings were released to the BBC after a redaction process that took nearly a year.

They were obtained through a freedom of information request.

But more than 700 files remain closed at the National Archives at Kew.

"Gerry had applied to get in the queue," she said.

"They refused. They wouldn't let him.

"He knew that there was stuff in there that had to be released to the public."

The files so far include letters, memos and meeting minutes - which show some inquiry members refused to accept Mr Conlon's assertion that he was not in the IRA.

Mr Conlon always denied the allegation of IRA membership.

In the 1993 film, In The Name Of The Father, Gerry Conlon was played by Daniel Day-Lewis. He also carried Mr Conlan's coffin following at his funeral.

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