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Inquest to resume into Guildford pub bombings in 1974

The Guildford Four were wrongly jailed for 15 years over the 1974 bombings.

The aftermath of the explosion at the Horse and Groom pub.
The aftermath of the explosion at the Horse and Groom pub.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE INQUEST IS set to resume into the deaths of five people killed in the Guildford pub bombings 45 years ago.

In October 1974, the IRA exploded bombs in two pubs in the Surrey town. Four people – Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson – dubbed the Guildford Four were wrongly convicted of the crime. 

They spent 15 years in jail.

Following the decision of the coroner today to resume the inquest into the deaths of Ann Hamilton, Caroline Slater, William Forsyth, John Hunter and Paul Craig, Surrey Police said it had already begun cataloguing all material related to the bombings.

Over the past 12 months, it has logged over 4,000 documents. 

“This task remains on-going and is complex in nature,” Surrey Police said. “The bulk of material has been in storage for more than 40 years and was archived as per the processes of the 1970s and not as it would be today in a structured, indexed and electronic format.

Due to the large volume of material, it is anticipated it will take a further 12 -18 months to complete this process.

Surrey Police also said the case of the bombings is not being actively re-investigated and an assessment will be made on whether or not to do so when all the material is catalogued.

There has been no date set for the inquest, and a pre-inquest review will take place at an unspecified later date.

KRW Law, which represents the family of one of the victims Anne Hamilton and bombing survivor Yvonne Tagg, welcomed the ruling from the Surrey coroner.

It said in a statement: “At this point we need to consider the contents of the Senior Coroner’s Ruling as he made remarks about Interested Persons, the scope of this inquest, whether it would be conducted in compliance with human rights standards and whether it will be before a jury.

The issue of scope will be kept under review as the evidence is adduced.

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Sean Murray

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