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Calls grow for Guildford inquests to be reopened

By Jonny Bell

Lawyers involved in the reopened Birmingham bombings inquests have urged a fresh review of the Guildford blasts.

KRW Law is arguing that the inquests into Guildford never closed as the convictions of three men and a woman - Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Caroline Richardson - were later quashed.

Coroner's papers seen by the BBC show that there was only one open hearing after the Guilford attacks in 1974.

IRA bombs exploded in two pubs in the garrison town, killing five people and injuring scores more.

Soldiers Ann Hamilton (19), Caroline Slater (18), William Forsyth (18) and John Hunter (17) died in the blast at the Horse & Groom on October 5 along with plasterer Paul Craig, who was 21.

Inquests into the Birmingham bombings were reopened last year by coroner Louise Hunt, who said a large amount of evidence related to the case had never been heard.

Christopher Stanley from KRW said there were obvious parallels between the Guildford and Birmingham cases.

He said he believed there would be "sufficient grounds" to reopen the Guildford inquest and that there had never been an independent investigation into the bombings.

A spokeswoman for the Attorney General's Office said it had not received an application.

She said: "If an application is received we will consider it carefully." Last month KRW made a request for the Garda to interview self-confessed IRA bomber Michael Hayes after he said that he accepted "collective responsibility" for the Birmingham attacks in a BBC interview.

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