The four had always maintained their innocence of the IRA pub bombings in Guildford and Woolwich in October 1974, insisting that their original confessions had been obtained by force. Their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal after major irregularities were uncovered in the original police evidence.
Along with the Birmingham Six and the Maguire Seven, who were also subsequently cleared of bombing offences after long terms in jail, the Guildford Four case was among the most high profile miscarriage of justices arising from the Irish ‘Troubles’. The trial judge noted in passing sentence that had capital punishment not been abolished they would have been sentenced to hang.
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