Belfast Telegraph

Soldier injured in Guildford bomb backs probe call

 

By Suzanne Breen

The family of Gerry Conlon and a British soldier injured in the IRA's Guildford bombing are calling for a fresh inquiry into the original police investigation of the case.

Lawyer Kevin Winters has written to the Attorney General on behalf of Mr Conlon's sister Anne McKernan and a survivor who was injured in the explosion at the Horse and Groom Pub.

The development follows the discovery of new evidence.

It was uncovered by author Richard O'Rawe, whose book In the Name of the Son: The Gerry Conlon Story published by Merrion Press will be launched in Belfast tonight.

Mr Conlon, who died three years ago, was wrongly jailed for the 1974 bombings in which four British soldiers and a civilian died.

His conviction was overturned in 1989.

The survivor suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

Mr O'Rawe said he visited the national archives at Kew to examine documents relating to the Guildford Four case last year.

He said he found material relating to a report by forensic scientist Douglas Higgs, which stated that the IRA bombings carried out between October and December 1974 in England were the work of the same team.

"That report meant that the Guildford Four couldn't have been responsible, as two of these bombings occurred after they were arrested," Mr O'Rawe said yesterday.

"They were in jail at the time of the explosions, so it couldn't have been them.

"This punched a massive hole in the Crown case but the report was withheld from defence counsel. I immediately informed the Conlons' solicitor, Kevin Winters."

In a letter to the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright, Mr Winters states: "Following recent examination of archival material we say there is a basis upon which you can direct a new investigation into alleged criminality on the part of the Surrey police investigation team and the prosecutors with whom they worked in securing the wrongful conviction of Mr Conlon and others.

"On the basis of this material we submit that your offices can review the case in its entirety with a view to directing a fresh criminal enquiry."

Mr Winters refers to the "failure to disclose information in relation to a concession made on foot of other separate criminal proceedings and the suppression of forensic evidence".

It is alleged that the leading Crown prosecutor in the trial of the Balcombe Street gang, Sir John Mathew QC, had asked Mr Higgs to alter a statement which he had made in January 1975, to omit reference to the Woolwich bombing - and that Mr Higgs had complied with the QC's request.

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