**Yesterday Seán sent round the story from the Guardian when Patrick Magee was convicted of the Brighton bombing. I thought it very interesting--that one and another, and wanted to re-post them.


Gareth Parry
June 11, 1986
The Guardian

Patrick Magee, a 35-year-old IRA man from Belfast, was yesterday
found guilty of the Brighton bombing, an attempt to assassinate the
Prime Minister and her Cabinet. An Old Bailey jury convicted him of
planting a bomb at the Grand Hotel, and causing the explosion during
the Conservative Party Conference on October 12, 1984.
He was also found guilty of murdering the five people who died in the
blast which, the court heard, was 'one of the worst acts of terrorism
in this country, and came within an inch of being the Provisional
IRA's most devastating explosion. '

The jury of six men and six women took five hours 15 minutes to reach
their verdict on the 24th day of the trial of Magee, who the Crown
prosecutor, Mr Roy Amlot, QC, said, had planted a time bomb in Room
629 of the Grand Hotel, about 24 days before the explosion. Magee did
not give evidence or call witnesses at the trial.

The jury still has to reach verdicts on Magee and four other people
accused of conspiring to carry out a bomb blitz of London and 12
seaside towns last summer. Mr Justice Boreham sent them to an hotel
where they will be guarded overnight. They will continue their
deliberations today.

Five prominent members of the Conservative party died in the
explosion, which happened at 2.54 am on the final day of the

They were Mr Eric Taylor, aged 54, chairman of the party's north west
area, Sir Anthony Berry, aged 59, MP for Enfield, Southgate, Mrs Anne
Wakeham, aged 45, wife of the government chief whip, Mrs Jeanne
Shattock, aged 52, wife of the chairman of the party's western area,
and Mrs Muriel McLean, aged 54, wife of the Chairman of the Scottish

Mrs Thatcher and members of the Cabinet were staying on the first
floor of the hotel where Magee had booked into Room 629 and concealed
a bomb of between 20 and 30 pounds of gelignite behind the panels of
a bath.

He used the name Roy Walsh, of Braxfield Road, London, but three
months after the explosion, Scotland Yard fingerprint experts
confirmed that a palm print on the hotel's registration card matched
police records of the Irishman, who was brought up in Norwich, and
whose parents live in Ashford, Kent.

Magee's counsel, Mr Richard Ferguson, QC, claimed the police planted
Magee's print on the registration card in an effort to frame him and
restore their credibility after the explosion.

The hotel had been guarded for the conference week by plainclothes
and uniformed Sussex police officers, members of the Metropolitan
Police Close Protection Unit, and 24-hour security cameras.

A police operations room in the hotel monitored the building during
the conference week.

But Magee had circumvented all those security measures by planting
the bomb on September 17, 1984, setting its 'deadly accurate' timing
mechanism for a time 24 days, six hours and 35 minutes later.

Crown counsel said he had committed a blunder to shame any second
rate burglar by leaving his fingerprints on the registration card.

All the receptionist could recall of Magee - or 'Roy Walsh' - was
that he had paid pounds 180 in cash in advance for a three-night
stay. Miss Trudy Groves allocated him Room 629 'because it was a nice
room facing the sea. '

On the final day of his stay, a waiter had delivered tea and turkey
sandwiches. The door was opened by a taller man than Magee but the
waiter recalled there appeared to be someone else in the bathroom.

The bomb was activated that evening when the occupants of the room
ordered a bottle of vodka and three cokes. On September 19, 'Mr
Walsh' and his companion, who has never been traced, left the hotel
with the bomb ticking away as unsuspecting guests came and went.

Three couples - from the United States, London and Hertfordshire -
and a businessman from Bombay were subsequently traced and eliminated
from the police hunt.

Sir Donald McLean and his wife Muriel, booked in to Room 629 on
October 9, at the start of the conference week. Mr Gordon Shattock,
and his wife, Jeanne, took Room 628.

Sir Donald told the jury that he and his wife had entertained guests
until 1.45 am on October 12. The Shattocks retired just before
midnight, but Mr Shattock was woken by noisy guests at 2.30 am, and
was only dozing when the bomb went off at 2.54 am.

Mrs McLean died from her injuries on November 13 after what counsel
called a 'remarkable fight. '

Mr Shattock, who was later knighted, had a miraculous escape. He fell
from the sixth floor to the basement with huge chunks of debris
tumbling with him. He managed to crawl out of the rubble in the
basement with Mrs Taylor, who had also fallen from the sixth floor.

Mrs Shattock was blown out of her room, across a corridor, and into
Room 638. She died instantly from the blast which sent small
fragments of bathroom tile in to her body 'like bullets. '

But her injuries indicated the direction of the blast and also the
seat of the explosion. It led experts to place the bomb between the
baths of Rooms 628 and 629. The nature of Mrs Shattock's injuries,
the pieces of ceramic tiles and the burns from the fireball narrowed
the seat of the explosion to Room 629.

This led the police to trace everyone who had stayed in the room.
Each occupant was seen, and eliminated from inquiries, until
detectives tried to trace 'Roy Walsh. '

The registration card he signed was examined by Scotland Yard experts
using chemical and laser tests. Magee's right palm and left little
finger prints were exposed.

These were compared with the police fingerprints record taken from
Magee when he was convicted of three offences as a juvenile.

The 'Roy Walsh' signature and address were examined by handwriting
experts who concluded that they were Magee's handwriting.

There were two outstanding characteristics - the figure '2' had a
long base, and capital 'E 'was written with the pen not leaving the
paper when the upper horizontal strokes were made.

Magee has pleaded not guilty with four others to a conspiracy to
cause 16 explosions - four in London and 12 in seaside towns - which
were due to go off on consecutive days, excepting Sunday in July and
August last year.

The other defendants are Gerard McDonnel, aged 34, Peter Sherry, aged
30, Martina Anderson, aged 23, Ella O'Dwyer, aged 26.

As Magee left the dock with the other defendants last night, he
said 'Good luck' to friends sitting in the public gallery above him.

After the court rose, Mr Justice Boreham issued a Contempt of Court
Order prohibiting the publication of any material relating to the
trial, except the verdicts given yesterday and evidence during the
trial in the presence of the jury.



Patrick Magee: The IRA Brighton bomber

Tuesday, June 22, 1999

The bomb blasted a hole in the Grand Hotel, Brighton

Patrick Magee plotted to kill former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet.

By planting the Brighton bomb at the Grand Hotel during the Tory party conference in 1984, he nearly succeeded.

Mrs Thatcher and her Cabinet escaped the blast, but it left five people dead and 34 injured.

'Cruel and inhumane' (**poster's note: like THATCHER)

At Magee's trial, the judge Mr Justice Boreham recommended that he serve a minimum of 35 years.

He branded Magee "a man of exceptional cruelty and inhumanity" who enjoyed terrorist activities.

Magee: Murder plans

If Magee served the judge's recommended minimum sentence, he would be 70 before he tasted freedom.

In September 1986, 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 eighth life sentence was for a separate conspiracy to bomb 16 targets in London and resorts around Britain.

Four members of an IRA "active service unit" who worked with him on that project were also jailed.

Judge's satisfaction

When he sentenced Magee, Mr Justice Boreham voiced his satisfaction at the length of time Magee would serve.

He said: "You intended to wipe out a large part of the government and you nearly did.

"I must be grateful that in recent years legislators have raised the maximum sentence from a mere 20 years to life imprisonment for explosive offences."

Margaret Thatcher: Bomb target

Three-and-a-half weeks before the bombing, Magee had checked into the hotel under the fictitious name Roy Walsh.

He stayed there from 14 to 17 September. In his room, he primed a 20-30lb bomb which he hid in a bathroom wall with a timing device set for 24 days ahead.

He had allegedly honed his skills at Libyan terrorist training camps.

At 2.54am on 12 October, the bomb blasted a gaping hole through the hotel's facade.

Mrs Thatcher was in the hotel working on her conference speech at the time of the explosion.

Five killed

The five people killed in the bombing were Sir Anthony Berry, 59, the MP for Enfield Southgate; Roberta Wakeham, 45, wife of the then Tory Chief Whip Lord Wakeham; The Tories' North West Area Chairman Eric Taylor, 54; Muriel Maclean, 54, wife of Scottish Chairman Sir Donald Maclean; and Jeanne Shattock, 52, wife of the Western Area Chairman.

One of the best-remembered images of the night was that of the former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Norman Tebbit, who had to be rescued from the rubble. His wife was paralysed in the blast.

Norman Tebbit was rescued from the rubble

Sussex police traced and eliminated 800 people from 50 countries who had stayed at the hotel in the month before the attack.

Only Roy Walsh could not be accounted for, but his true identity was finally revealed when a palm print on a hotel registration card matched a print taken from Magee years earlier when he was first arrested as a juvenile in Norwich, where he grew up.

Detectives did not want to issue a public alert, so they waited, hoping that Magee would eventually reappear on the mainland.

Police trailing another IRA suspect Peter Sherry arrested Magee in June 1995 at an IRA safe house in Glasgow, as he planned the attacks on British resorts.

When he was finally jailed, he gave a clenched fist salute as he was led off to start his sentence.

Magee was born in Belfast but moved with his family to Norwich when he was two. He returned to Belfast at the age of 18 in 1969, and joined the Provisional IRA soon afterwards.

Magee has made the headlines since his imprisonment. In September 1994, former Prime Minister John Major ordered an inquiry when four republican prisoners, including Magee, were transferred from English jails to prisons in Ulster only hours after the first IRA ceasefire.

He has used his time in prison to study for a PhD in "Troubles" fiction. In August 1997 he got married for a second time to novelist Barbara Byer after the couple struck up a relationship via correspondence.


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