Belfast Telegraph

Tributes flow for Gerry Conlon: Wrongly convicted Guildford Four man loses cancer fight

By Colin Francis

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

He had been suffering from terminal cancer for some time, according to friends.

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 on Saturday through his lawyer Gareth Peirce.

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 continued to campaign for others he saw as victims of miscarriages of justice upon his release from prison and kept up his struggle for human rights at home and abroad.

He had been to America and Australia, where he and Paddy Joe Hill from the Birmingham Six took up the case of Aborigines who had been victims of injustice.

He campaigned on behalf of Brian Shivers, who was acquitted of the murders of two soldiers at Massereene barracks, and only a few weeks ago he said he was convinced of the innocence of two men who lost a High Court appeal against their convictions for the murder of police officer Stephen Carroll in Craigavon.

In a phone message posted on YouTube from Maghaberry Prison, Brendan McConville said he and his co-accused John Paul Wootton sent their condolences.

"We can't thank him enough for everything he has done for us and for our families and he will be deeply and sadly missed by all of us," he said.

His friend Paul Hill, who was also wrongly jailed as a member of the Guildford Four n, caused controversy when he said that those wrongly jailed for the bombings in England suffered more than the victims.

"We had absolutely nothing to do with that. When they talk about collateral damage, the man who died yesterday was collateral damage," he said.

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