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1989: Guildford Four released after 15 years

VIDEO : A background on Paul Hill one of the Guildford Four

The Guildford Four have had their convictions quashed by the Court of Appeal following an extensive inquiry into the original police investigation.

As he emerged from the court, one of the four, Gerard Conlon, announced to the waiting crowds: "I have been in prison for something I did not do. I am totally innocent."

"The Maguire seven are innocent. Let's hope the Birmingham six are freed," he added.

The investigation into the case, considered to be the biggest miscarriage of justice in Britain, was carried out by Avon and Somerset Police. They found serious flaws in the way Surrey police noted the confessions of the four.

The confession of Patrick Armstrong was central to the investigation and the inquiry concluded the notes taken were not written up immediately and officers may have colluded in the wording of the statements.

Roy Amlott QC said in court: "New evidence of great significance has come to light after a police inquiry".

"It has thrown such doubt on the honesty and integrity of a number of Surrey police officers investigating this case... the Crown is now unable to say that the convictions of any of the four were safe or satisfactory," he added.

"Let's hope the Birmingham six are freed"

Gerard Conlon

The Guildford Four - as they were dubbed - were jailed for life in 1975 for bombing pubs in Guildford. The attacks left five people dead and over 100 injured. Paul Hill and Patrick Armstrong were also wrongfully sentenced for a bomb attack in Woolwich that killed two people.

They each served 15 years in prison.

Gerard Conlon, Patrick Armstrong and Carole Richardson were released immediately while Paul Hill was taken to a Belfast prison. He is serving time for the murder of a British soldier, Brian Shaw, but is expected to be released soon.

Three of the police officers who conducted the original interviews have now been suspended by Surrey police. Two others have already left the force.

Home Secretary Douglas Hurd has ordered an immediate judicial inquiry into the case as well as an official criminal investigation into the conduct of the officers involved.

"We must all, I believe, feel anxiety, regret and deep concern at what has occurred," he said.

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