Guildford pub bombing: what happened during 1974 IRA attack?

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The 1974 bombing of the Horse and Groom Pub in Guildford resulted in the deaths of five people



<p>The IRA staged an attack on the Horse and Groom pub in Guildford in 1974, killing five people.  (Image credit: Getty Images)</p><div data-ad-id=
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The IRA staged an attack on the Horse and Groom pub in Guildford in 1974, killing five people. (Image credit: Getty Images)

An investigation into the IRA bombing of a pub in Guildford nearly 48 years ago has concluded.

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The attack took place at the Horse and Groom pub in 1974 and resulted in the deaths of five people.

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The Surrey Coroner’s Court has now heard the five victims were “unlawfully” killed in the blast.

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The IRA staged an attack on the Horse and Groom pub in Guildford in 1974, killing five people. (Image credit: Getty Images)

What happened in the Guildford pub bombing?

The bomb was detonated on 5 October 1975 at the Horse and Groom pub on North Street in the Surrey town of Guildford.

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The attack came at the height of the Northern Ireland Troubles, when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) targeted the pub for its popularity with British soldiers stationed at nearby Pirbright Barracks.

Two six-pound gelignite bombs were used in the attack.

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Former Home Secretary Roy Jenkins toured the wreckage of the pub two days after the attack. (Image credit: Getty Images)

The explosive devices, believed to be the equivalent of 18 sticks of dynamite, were detonated between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.

It is believed that around 120 people were in the building at the time of the first explosion.

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The attack injured 65 people, 30 of whom were seriously injured.

Who died in the Guildford pub bombing?

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Five people died in the attack on the Horse and Groom pub.

These included four off-duty soldiers and one civilian.

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18-year-old Caroline Slater and 19-year-old Ann Hamilton, members of the Women’s Royal Army Corps, died along with two Scots Guard soldiers – William Forsyth, 18, and John Hunter, 17.

Paul Craig, a 21-year-old civilian, was also killed in the attack.

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Who was convicted in the Guildford pub bombing?

The IRA claimed responsibility for the bombing and was the first in a series of attacks carried out by an active service unit known as the Balcombe Street Gang.

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In December 1974, police arrested three men and a woman for attacking the horse and groom.

Those arrested were Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson.

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This group of suspects became known as the “Guildford Four”.

All four were wrongly convicted of the October 1975 bombings and sentenced to life imprisonment.

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A group known as the “Guildford Four” were wrongly convicted of the attack, with their convictions eventually being overturned. (Image credit: Getty Images)

After serving 15 years, Hill, Conlon, Armstrong and Richardson were released after their convictions were overturned.

This was because their convictions were based on confessions obtained through methods of torture, while evidence exonerating them of any wrongdoing was now being taken by the police.

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Police had also arrested a group of Conlon’s relatives in connection with the delivery of the materials to make the bombs. The group that became known as the Maguire Seven also included his father, Giuseppe Conlon. They also included Giuseppe’s sister-in-law Annie Maguire and her family, as well as their sons Vincent and Patrick, who were only 13 when he was arrested.

Giuseppe died in prison in 1980.

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This group was also wrongly convicted and had their conviction overturned.

Her fight for justice was the subject of the 1993 film In the name of the father. It was adapted from Gerry Conlon’s autobiography Proved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four.

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What did the inquiry into the Guildford pub bombings reveal?

An inquest into the deaths of the five people was launched after the attack, but was suspended after the convictions of the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven were overturned.

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The investigation has been relaunched and is now complete almost 50 years later.

The Surrey Coroner’s Court has ruled that the deaths of the five victims were “unlawful”, with a coroner concluding that a “courting couple” could have been the likely perpetrators of the attack.

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After the hearing, Surrey Police said they were considering reopening the investigation into the bombings.

However, families of those killed in the attack have said questions remain unanswered by the conclusions found in the investigation.

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A statement released on behalf of Private Hamilton’s family said: “This was our last chance to participate in a process to establish truth, justice and accountability, but we have been disfellowshipped from that process and our vote on behalf of Ann was not heard. and our presence in that process was absent.

“An investigation must serve to dispel suspicion and rumors. An investigation must serve the interests of the victims’ families.

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“We do not believe that this investigation served any of those purposes. First, the families were excluded because there was no public funding. Second, the scope of the investigation was limited by the current status of coronary law and regulations.

“Both must be addressed if this process is to be continued credibly in the interests of the bereaved.

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“Many of our questions remain unanswered.”

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