Gerry Conlon, one of the famed "Guilford Four" immortalized in the movie, "In The Name Of The Father," died Saturday in Belfast, Northern Ireland, his family announced in a statement. He was 60.
Conlon was wrongly imprisoned for 15 years for the Oct. 5, 1974, Irish Republican Army bombing of The Horse and Groom pub in Guilford that killed four soldiers and injured 65 others. His conviction and that of three co-defendants was overturned in 1989. Once out, he fought miscarriages of justice, the Daily Telegraph reported. In 2005 he won a public apology from Tony Blair for the way the government handled the case.
The Belfast Telegraph reported Conlon had been ill for some time.
“We recognize that what he achieved by fighting for justice for us had a far, far greater importance -- it forced the world’s closed eyes to be opened to injustice; it forced unimaginable wickedness to be acknowledged; we believe it changed the course of history," the family's statement said.
Sein Fein President Gerry Adams expressed his condolences, saying Conlon and his father represented "two of the most infamous examples of miscarriages of justice by the British political and judicial system."
Conlon's father, Patrick, died in prison 1980. He had been wrongly convicted as one of the "Maguire Seven," for allegedly making the bombs. Their convictions also were overturned.
In an interview four years ago, Conlon told the Daily Telegraph he had fallen into despair and was using alcohol and drugs. More recently he said therapy had been helping and he was learning to cope.
After Conlon was released from prison, he wrote "Proved Innocent: Gerry Conlon and the Guildford Four," which was the basis for "In The Name Of The Father."