I’ll never forgive police who destroyed my life, says Conlon

#1
I’ll never forgive police who destroyed my life, says Conlon

By Conor Ryan
GUILDFORD Four innocent Gerard Conlon has said he will never forgive British policemen who conspired to convict him for the 1974 pub bombings.

Mr Conlon admitted he began long-term therapy to help him recover from the 15 years he spent in prison for a crime he did not commit. In October 1989, he and three other people had their convictions quashed when serious flaws were found in the investigation by Surrey police.

Yesterday, Mr Conlon said he will never forget the torment he suffered.

“I went to London to go working and enjoy myself and escape what was happening in Belfast. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me,” he said.

“The thing I can never forgive is if the police had checked our backgrounds, they would know we would not be candidates for the IRA — and the type of horrific violence being used — we wouldn’t even have been acknowledged.”

Belfast-born Mr Conlon said he was psychologically scarred. He criticised the British government for not providing greater help for those wrongly convicted on charges related to the IRA’s 1970s bombing campaign.

Mr Conlon said the British government should have put as much effort into rebuilding ex-prisoners’ lives as they did “tearing them apart”.

“You suddenly find yourself from being happy-go-lucky and taking life as an adventure to being taken from your bed to an English cell and tortured.

“And, looking around, seeing your father in jail, your aunt in jail and your cousins in jail, it is a nightmare that still lingers until today,” he said.

Mr Conlon was speaking on RTÉ’s Tubridy show and said he was now in constant therapy which would “continue for a long time”.

His autobiography, Proved Innocent, inspired Jim Sheridan’s 1993 Oscar-nominated film In the Name of the Father.

Meanwhile, Paddy Joe Hill, a member of the Birmingham Six, was also interviewed about the similar miscarriage of justice which saw him and five others jailed for 16 years.

He revealed that, even today, he has never been properly questioned about the bombings in Birmingham and police pursued the easiest conviction instead of investigating who actually carried out the attacks.

After the bombings, which left 21 people dead and 160 injured, he had walked into the police station of his own accord after they appealed for people to come forward.

“I have never even been questioned about the Birmingham bombings, even now. I walked in of my own accord but I didn’t know those would be the last steps to freedom I would take for 16 years,” said Mr Hill, who now works for the Scottish Executive.
 
#2
Oh well, never mind eh !
 
#3
I post this because of all of the recent talk here regarding torture and its effectiveness. In this case, innocent people were tortured, gave false info to stop it, were convicted and thrown in prison because of what was extracted using it.
 
#6
af1033 said:
Kev, they weren't found innocent and released they found that the investigation had flaws, big difference.
In this case, the convictions were reversed. If you have read anything about these people, they were not the sort RA would have had carry out anything, let alone a bombing. Being from Londonderry, I did not know of them first hand, but heard from mates in Belfast they were a band of losers.

The point is, they said all kind of nonsense under torture, just to get it to stop.
 
#7
In February 1977, during the trial of the Balcombe Street ASU, the four IRA men instructed their lawyers to "draw attention to the fact that four totally innocent people were serving massive sentences", referring to the Guildford Four.[2] Despite claims to the police that they were responsible [2] they were never charged with these offences and the Guildford Four remained imprisoned for another twelve years
the flaws in the evidece
police were accused of
# completely fabricated the typed notes, amending them to make them look more effective, and then creating hand-written notes to give the appearance of contemporaneous notes"; or
# "started off with contemporaneous notes, typed them up to make them more legible, amended them to make them read better, and then converted them back to hand-written notes."
 
#9
KevinB said:
I post this because of all of the recent talk here regarding torture and its effectiveness. In this case, innocent people were tortured, gave false info to stop it, were convicted and thrown in prison because of what was extracted using it.
Both convictions were over turned on the basis of doctored notes and a thousand to one possibility that the forensic evidence for explosives could have come from another source. Nothing to do with torture.
 
#10
KevinB said:
I post this because of all of the recent talk here regarding torture and its effectiveness. In this case, innocent people were tortured, gave false info to stop it, were convicted and thrown in prison because of what was extracted using it.
At least they weren't kneecapped eh! Dirty dirty times and yes the police did some wrong things but where was the huge campaign from the RA to get them out? Sorry I forgot, they were too busy murdering and torturing to care.
 
#11
KevinB said:
af1033 said:
Kev, they weren't found innocent and released they found that the investigation had flaws, big difference.
In this case, the convictions were reversed. If you have read anything about these people, they were not the sort RA would have had carry out anything, let alone a bombing. Being from Londonderry, I did not know of them first hand, but heard from mates in Belfast they were a band of losers.

The point is, they said all kind of nonsense under torture, just to get it to stop.
The Guildford Four's convictions were declared unsafe and reversed. If he was innocent, then it is indeed a tragedy. A tragedy that resulted in a payout of between £400,000 to £500,000. I wonder if the "loser" would have made that much on the outside over 15 years?

As a matter of interest, has Mr Conlon been as critical of the IRA for their bombing campaign that ultimately caused his imprisonment?
 
#13
I wonder why the police have never sought to find the "real" perpetrators of the Birmingham and Guildford attrocities?

I suspect that the "real" perpetrators were released once the lefty lawyers had unearthed the "life on Mars" tactics used by a Police force under tremendous pressure to provide evidence that would convict a group of very dangerous men.

I believe those that were "wrongly" convicted received large sums from HMG in compensation. I believe the victims of the bombings (those that survived) received nothing like those levels of compensation.

I think Mr Conlon should think on that as should the others. Hopefully that war is over and that means moving on, and that is exactly what you Mr (very well compensated) Conlon should do.
 
#14
RABC said:
Were some of them not allegedly seen in the company of known PIRA members as soon as they were released ?
Escorted home by a cortege of PIRA owned black taxis flying tri-colours and welcomed off the bus by none other than Martin McGuinness
 
#15
Foolish statements on this thread and most of you seem to be looking for any shread of a reason to justify stitching up and wrongfully imprisoning people.

These are exactly the ignorant attitudes the like of PIRA love to see and gives creedance that the security forces/British Army will gladly discriminate and stitch people up if they are Irish. Or even the accusation that in military eyes all Irish must be guilty. Well done for playing right into terrorists hands, you have excelled yourselves.


Fools

To add : just because Conlon is a twat does not mean he or anyone should go to jail. A similar argument to when soldiers get sent to jail for shooting joy riders, just because they are soldiers does not mean they are out to kill joyriders but some jurys will be prejudiced against soldiers just like some on this thread seem to be prejudiced.
 
#16
LEGZ30 said:
RABC said:
Were some of them not allegedly seen in the company of known PIRA members as soon as they were released ?
Escorted home by a cortege of PIRA owned black taxis flying tri-colours and welcomed off the bus by none other than Martin McGuinness
If you had heard anything about these losers (petty thieves, drug users, general layabouts) you would know they were not who RA would employ to do a bombing.

As to torture - well, once again - suppose it depends how you define it. Conlon was beaten, thrown naked into a cold cell, beaten more, his family threatened until he 'confessed' to whatever they wanted him to confess to - he said himself he made up all kinds of info. And that is the point here.
 
#17
Vonshot said:
Foolish statements on this thread and most of you seem to be looking for any shread of a reason to justify stitching up and wrongfully imprisoning people.

These are exactly the ignorant attitudes the like of PIRA love to see and gives creedance that the security forces/British Army will gladly discriminate and stitch people up if they are Irish. Or even the accusation that in military eyes all Irish must be guilty. Well done for playing right into terrorists hands, you have excelled yourselves.


Fools
If you don't know ALL the facts then don't go calling people fools. ALL sides involved know and knew what was what. It was all part of that horrible counter insurgency game. Do not be so naive or we might think that you are a bit of fool too.
 
#18
A miscarriage of justice is just that, however its dressed up. Loathe though I am to take this line of reasoning having spent enough time in NI to last several lifetimes and have little sympathy for some of these scroates, one of reasons I and many servicemen fought and died, was to have a society which was fair and just.

You may not like some of the results and I am the first to admit no system is entirely fair or entirely safe. It is nevertheless the system we have. If you dont like it then change it from within.
 
#19
FARMBOY said:
Vonshot said:
Foolish statements on this thread and most of you seem to be looking for any shread of a reason to justify stitching up and wrongfully imprisoning people.

These are exactly the ignorant attitudes the like of PIRA love to see and gives creedance that the security forces/British Army will gladly discriminate and stitch people up if they are Irish. Or even the accusation that in military eyes all Irish must be guilty. Well done for playing right into terrorists hands, you have excelled yourselves.


Fools
If you don't know ALL the facts then don't go calling people fools. ALL sides involved know and knew what was what. It was all part of that horrible counter insurgency game. Do not be so naive or we might think that you are a bit of fool too.[/quote

And what side were they on exactly?
 
#20
Vonshot said:
FARMBOY said:
Vonshot said:
Foolish statements on this thread and most of you seem to be looking for any shread of a reason to justify stitching up and wrongfully imprisoning people.

These are exactly the ignorant attitudes the like of PIRA love to see and gives creedance that the security forces/British Army will gladly discriminate and stitch people up if they are Irish. Or even the accusation that in military eyes all Irish must be guilty. Well done for playing right into terrorists hands, you have excelled yourselves.


Fools
If you don't know ALL the facts then don't go calling people fools. ALL sides involved know and knew what was what. It was all part of that horrible counter insurgency game. Do not be so naive or we might think that you are a bit of fool too.[/quote

And what side were they on exactly?
Which "they" are you referring too?
 
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