Belfast Telegraph

Government had plans to release Guiseppe Conlon, new documents reveal

The British Government had plans in place to release a man wrongly convicted of the Guildford bombing, new documents have shown.

In papers seen by the BBC, it has been revealed that a secret Government plan was in place to release Patrick 'Guiseppe' Conlon from prison, had he not died from tuberculosis in 1980.

Private papers seen by the broadcaster show that on the day of Mr Conlon's death January 23, 1980, Home Secretary William Whitelaw - later Lord Whitelaw - made a decision to grant him parole.

The documents include a letter from Lord Whitelaw to campaigner Cardinal Basil Hume, who worked with those wrongfully convicted in connection with the Guildford bombing.

Sent after Patrick Conlon's death, it explained the decision had been made to grant him parole and that should be have been discharged from hospital "it would not be right to return him to prison".

Mr Conlon was jailed alongside his son, Gerry, who was one of the Guildford Four.

The Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven - the group Patrick Conlon was part of charged with possessing nitroglycerine allegedly passed to the IRA - all eventually had their convictions quashed.

The wrongful convictions connected to the Guildford pub bombings are cited as one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

The story of Patrick and Gerry Conlon is depicted in the 1993 film In the Name of the Father, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Pete Postlethwaite.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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