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The Brighton bomber
By Chris Bennett
BBC Sussex

Patrick Magee leaves prison
Patrick Magee leaves prison

Twenty five years ago Patrick Magee plotted to kill former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet.

He had planted a bomb which he hid in a hotel bathroom wall with a timing device set for 24 days ahead.

The bomb exploded as the Tory party slept - killing five people and injuring 34.

Twenty five years later, Patrick Magee will not talk in detail about that night.

Patrick Joseph Magee, the IRA terrorist responsible for the Brighton bomb of 1984, during the Conservative Party Conference of that year
Patrick Magee in 1984 - the year of the Brighton bombing.

"I don't talk about Brighton in terms of the operation, or the planning, or the strategy of that. I'm trying to deal with the human consequences of that,"

At his 1986 trial, Magee, who was then 35, received eight life sentences at the Old Bailey. Seven of them were for offences relating to the Brighton bombing on 12 October 1984.

He was sentenced for planting the bomb, exploding it, and five counts of murder. The judge Mr Justice Boreham said he was "a man of exceptional cruelty and inhumanity" who enjoyed terrorist activities.

But Patrick Magee does not see himself as a criminal. He believes that he was a soldier fighting a just war.

The Grand Hotel after a bombing by the IRA in 1974.
The bomb blew out the centre of the Grand Hotel.

"I knew that what we done was not criminal activity. We were defending our areas. " he said.

"I felt (that I was) a prisoner of war. I mean, I was in a struggle, I was caught. That's it. I went through the whole trappings of a criminal trial. I never, for one second of my whole period in prison or of my whole period as a republican, active republican, thought of myself as a criminal."

Jo Berry
Jo Berry forgave Patrick Magee for the death of her father, Sir Anthony Berry.

In recent years Patrick Magee has been associated with the Forgiveness Project, which works with groups specialising in conflict resolution, reconciliation and victim support.

He has met Jo Berry, whose father Sir Anthony Berry was one of the five people killed in the Grand Hotel bombing. He has also been forgiven by Harvey Thomas, another victim.

Patrick Magee's mission now is to build understanding.

Lord Tebbit and Lady Tebbit
Lord Tebbit and Lady Tebbit, who has been confined to a wheelchair ever since the bombing because of her injuries.

"People were hurt, people were killed and you know you are trying to put that in the context of the conflict that we have all come through. There's this legacy of the conflict that needs to be addressed because you are out of that conflict now. You can't just walk away and leave it like that after you have hurt people. I think there's an obligation there...a human obligation and a political obligation to deal with the hurt you have caused and to try and make people understand what we have come through,"

He spoke at Harvey Thomas' local church.

"If you get the chance to explain the past and what you've come through then you should do everything in your power to do that. So it's an opportunity for me to deal with the issue that are raised and hopefully explain to an audience who have probably never heard this perspective before, you know, what we came through and why we responded the way that we did," he said.



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