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Lawyers May Ask for Guildford Pub Bombing Inquests to be Reopened

Published on: 4 Aug, 2017
Updated on: 31 Jan, 2019

The Horse & Groom pub shortly after the IRA bomb attack on October 5th 1974.

The BBC reports that lawyers involved in the reopened Birmingham pub bombings inquest are considering requesting the inquests into the deaths suffered in the IRA blasts in Guildford are also reopened.

KRW Law, a Belfast law firm, claims that the inquests should be reopened because the convictions of the Guildford Four were later found to be unsafe and quashed.

According to the BBC report, the coroner’s papers show there was just one hearing, held in Surrey, after the bombings in 1974 in which five people were killed.

A memorial to the five who died as a result of the Guildford pub bombings can be seen in Quakers’ Acre.

Victims of the IRA bomb attack at the Horse & Groom pub in North Street, on  October 5 1974, were soldiers: Ann Hamilton, 19, Caroline Slater, 18, William Forsyth, 18, and John Hunter, 17, along with plasterer Paul Craig, 21.

The Seven Stars pub in Swan Lane was also attacked. Fortunately customers had already been evacuated, nonetheless, publican Brian O’Brien, his wife, four pub staff and a girl who was walking past people were injured in the blast.

Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Patrick Armstrong and Carole Richardson, the “Guildford Four” were arrested following the incidents and originally held at Guildford Police Station (then in Leapale Road). On October 22, 1975, they were jailed for life jailed for life at the Old Bailey.

In 1976 members of the “Balcombe Street” gang were said to have claimed responsibility for the Guildford bombings and said the imprisoned four were innocent.

After years of campaigning the Court of Appeal overturned the convictions and released the four on October 19, 1989.

In February 2005 an apology was given to the Guildford Four by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

KRW Law has been asked to comment.

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Responses to Lawyers May Ask for Guildford Pub Bombing Inquests to be Reopened

  1. Dave Middleton Reply

    August 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Sorry, but whenever I hear that lawyers are calling for some kind of legal action, my cynical side thinks, “Oh yes and you’ll be the ones that’ll make a lot of money (and more often than not public money) out of it.”

    I think that this would be a pointless exercise as whatever “evidence” might be heard at the inquest, the only possible verdict will be one of “Unlawful Killing by Person or Persons Unknown”, which is a statement of the blindingly obvious and could be reached in five minutes.

    Perhaps Mr Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein and of course, formerly of the IRA, who must surely have a pretty good idea as to who was responsible, might like to come forward and name some names, so that a criminal trial can take place and the perpetrators (if they are still alive) be tried in a Court of Law.

  2. John Robinson Reply

    August 8, 2017 at 7:44 am

    Well said Mr Middleton – 100% agree.

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