Surrey

Guildford pub bomb archives ‘not being destroyed’

Pub wreckage
Image caption Two bombs went off in Guildford on 5 October 1974

Reassurances that archives relating to the Guildford pub bombings are not being destroyed or withheld have been made at an inquest into the deaths of five people in the terror attacks.

It follows BBC coverage of an alleged "seizure" of documents by Surrey Police.

Oliver Sanders QC, counsel to the resumed inquest, said: "No documents have been destroyed."

But he revealed lawyers had raised concerns about the cataloguing process.

Mr Sanders was setting out the contents of a submission by Belfast law firm KRW Law, which is acting for the family of victim Ann Hamilton.

'Conflict of interest'

KRW Law did not appear at the hearing in Woking after its clients were refused legal aid, but had raised concerns that Surrey Police was overseeing the cataloguing process.

Mr Sanders said: "Surrey Police may be facing considerable scrutiny of its actions before, during and after the bombings.

"The premise of the KRW submission is that Surrey Police may somehow have a conflict of interest, which is in our submission, misplaced."

He added: "There is no evidence that Surrey Police is in any way at fault over the occurrence of the Guildford pub bombings."

Image copyright Handout
Image caption Four soldiers and a civilian died in the first explosion at the Horse and Groom

Fiona Barton QC, for Surrey Police, also told the pre-inquest review: "No documents are being destroyed and no documents are being withheld."

She said archives were not being made available to the public because "there is an ongoing inquest process and there is potential for a further criminal investigation".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The wrongly convicted Guildford Four served 15 years in jail

Four soldiers and a civilian died when the IRA blew up two pubs in the Surrey town on 5 October 1974.

Eleven people - the Guildford Four and Maguire Seven - were falsely accused in what became known as one of Britain's biggest miscarriages of justice.

The IRA's Balcombe Street unit later admitted responsibility for the attacks, but no-one else was prosecuted.

A further pre-inquest review will be held in May.

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