Gerry Conlon, who was wrongly convicted of the Irish Republican Army’s 1974 pub bombing in Guildford, England, has died. He was 60.
“He was a big character,” West Belfast Assembly member Alex Attwood said in a statement today on the Social Democrat & Labour Party website. “Gerry made a big and lasting impression on all those he met. He had a great resilience, an incredible warmth and a huge heart. He also had a deep commitment to justice and democracy.”
Conlon, who was portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis in the 1993 Oscar-nominated film about the case, “In The Name Of The Father,” died at his home in Belfast after a lengthy illness, the Press Association said.
Conlon was one of the so-called Guildford Four who were convicted and imprisoned for the bomb attack, which killed five people and injured 65 others.
His father, Giuseppe, was arrested after traveling to London from Belfast to help his son. He died while serving his sentence.
The conviction against Conlon was quashed by the Court of Appeal in London in 1989. “I have been in prison for something I did not do,” Conlon told a crowd as he left the court. “I am totally innocent.”
Tony Blair, as prime minister, later apologized for the miscarriage of justice.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said today Conlon and his father were two of the “most infamous examples of miscarriages of justice by the British political and judicial system,” according to a statement cited by PA.