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Lawyers may ask for Guildford bombings inquest to be resumed

Gerry Conlon emerges from the Old Bailey Court in London after the Guildford Four are were released in 1989. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Connla Young

A coroner may be asked to resume the original inquests into five people killed in the 1974 Guildford pub bombings.

Solicitors acting for the sister of miscarriage of justice victim Gerry Conlon and a survivor of the IRA attacks have been granted access to the original inquest papers relating to the victims.

Details emerged after The Irish News revealed that lawyers for Ann McKernan and the bomb survivor have also asked the attorney general for England and Wales for a new investigation into police and prosecutors.

The legal team believes the original inquest was suspended pending the wrongful conviction of the Guildford Four - which included Gerry Conlon - in 1975.

Christopher Stanley of KRW Law last night said he may request a new inquest hearing.

“We are hoping to assess the significance of these papers in the coming weeks in order to determine whether there is sufficient reason to request the senior coroner for Surrey to resume the original inquests, which we understand would have been suspended pending the conviction of the Guildford Four,” he said.

Richard O'Rawe, author In the Name of the Son: The Gerry Conlon Story, has examined files linked to an inquiry carried out by Sir John May after the original verdict was quashed.

He says that in 1975 a forensic expert made a statement linking the Woolwich pub bomb, which killed two people in November 1974, to other attacks at the time.

He says this statement was not disclosed to the defence during the Guildford Four's trial.

Mr O'Rawe said the files also show that before a trial involving the IRA's Balcombe Street Gang's in 1977, prosecutors asked the forensic expert to redraft his statement omitting any reference to Woolwich.

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