New lead in Guildford pub bombings prompts criticism of police handling

In a recent development related to the 1974 Guildford pub bombings, a lawyer representing four individuals wrongfully accused of the attacks has criticized Surrey Police for their handling of new evidence. Alastair Logan questioned the timing of the police’s revelation, stating it was an attempt to avoid public scrutiny on the Guildford Four case.

The bombings, which took place in October 1974 at the Horse and Groom pub and the Seven Stars in Guildford, resulted in the deaths of four soldiers and a civilian. The Guildford Four and Maguire Seven were wrongly convicted for the attacks, leading to one of the UK’s most significant miscarriages of justice. Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong, Paul Hill, and Carole Richardson, who were falsely imprisoned for 15 years, were later exonerated.

Lawyer Alastair Logan accused Surrey Police of concealing evidence that could have proved the innocence of the Guildford Four in the 1970s. Despite new evidence emerging, the police have stated they will not proceed with a fresh inquiry until the Northern Ireland Legacy Act comes into effect on 1 May, allowing certain individuals involved in the conflict to seek immunity from prosecution.

The families of the victims, as well as supporters of the wrongly convicted individuals, have urged the police to reveal the nature of the new evidence and expedite the investigation. Bridie Brennan, the sister of Gerry Conlon, emphasized the importance of uncovering the truth after nearly 50 years of uncertainty surrounding the case.

While Surrey Police had initially indicated progress on a new line of inquiry following consultation with Counter Terrorism Policing in 2022, the enactment of the Legacy Act has postponed any potential prosecution. Deputy Chief Constable Nev Kemp confirmed that forensic results were received in August 2023, but the deadline of 1 May for prosecution under the new legislation made it unfeasible to proceed with the case.

The ongoing saga of the Guildford pub bombings continues to haunt the families of the victims and the wrongfully convicted individuals, underscoring the need for transparency and accountability in the pursuit of justice.

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