Gerry Conlon (1954-2014) was a Northern Ireland citizen convicted of bombing pubs in England. He was a member of the ‘Guildford Four’, whose convictions were quashed after a long campaign.
Conlon was born into a Catholic family in Belfast. As a teenager Conlon was involved in drug use and petty crime but was not associated with political or paramilitary groups. In 1974 Conlon and a friend, Paul Hill, travelled from Belfast to London in search of work.
After several days in police custody, both Conlon and Hill signed written confessions. They later claimed to have been subjected to intimidation, beatings and threats. Conlon, Hill and two associates (dubbed the Guildford Four) were convicted of murder and other offences. When sentencing the four, Justice Donaldson told them “if hanging were still an option you would have been executed”. Giuseppe Conlon and six others (dubbed the Maguire Seven) were convicted of aiding and supplying the bombers and handed lengthy prison sentences.
Conlon and Hill would spend almost 15 years in prison. Giuseppe Conlon contracted a terminal illness and died in prison in 1980, British authorities refusing him compassionate release or parole.
In 1991, Conlon authored a book, Proved Innocent, and two years later his story was depicted in the film In the Name of the Father. Gerry Conlon died from lung cancer in Belfast in June 2014.
Title: “Gerry Conlon”
Authors: Rebekah Poole, Jennifer Llewellyn
Publisher: Alpha History
Date published: January 28, 2018
Date accessed: May 28, 2023