Archive for alex McGuigan

Chris Hedges – Socialist, Presbyterian Minister, Anti-Imperialist & Pro Palestine Activist

Posted in Socialism, Solidaity, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2017 by The Plough & The Stars


The Hezbollah – Lebanon’s Broad Front Resistance Movement

Posted in Anti-Zionism, Internationalism, Solidarity, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2017 by The Plough & The Stars

Forget Israeli, US and Imperialist propaganda – make up your own mind….

Peter The Painter

Posted in Anarchism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 3, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

In Irish Republican circles since PH Pearse surrendered at the end of the Easter Rising of 1916 to more recent Anglo-Irish conflicts, ‘a Peter The Painter’ has been slang for the Mauser C96 semi automatic pistol developed in 1896 and it’s many variants. An example of it’s distinctive shape, with most models having a fixed magazine fed by a stripper clip and a wooden holster when attached to the weapon greatly increased it’s accuracy.Mauser-b

Source: Spartacus Educational

Peter Piaktow (The Original Peter the Painter)

Edwin Chadwick

Peter Piaktow was born in Pskow, Russia in about 1880. He was imprisoned for his role in the 1905 Russian Revolution. He escaped and fled to France. While living inMarseille he was employed as a house painter.

Piaktow moved to London and lived at 36 Lindley Street before taking a first-floor room at 59 Grove Street. During this period he became friends with Yakov Peters, who had also been arrested in Russia for revolutionary activity. During this period Piaktow was known as Peter the Painter.

On 16th December 1910, a gang that is believed to include Piaktow. Yakov Peters, George Gardstein,Fritz Svaars, Yourka Dubof, Karl Hoffman, Sara Trassjonsky, Nina Vassilleva, John Rosen, Max Smoller andWilliam Sokolow, attempted to break into the rear of Henry Harris’s jeweller’s shop in Houndsditch, from 11 Exchange Buildings in the cul-de-sac behind.

Peter Piaktow (Peter the Painter) – Folk Hero

The Daily Telegraph reported: “Some two or three weeks ago this particular house in Exchange Buildings was rented and there went to live there two men and a woman. They were little known by neighbours, and kept very quiet, as if, indeed, to escape observation. They are said to have been foreigners in appearance, and the whole neighbourhood of Houndsditch containing a great number of aliens, and removal being not infrequent, the arrival of this new household created no comment. The police, however, evidently had some cause to suspect their intentions. The neighbourhood is always well patrolled. Shortly before 11.30 last night there were sounds either at the back of these newcomers’ premises or at Mr Harris’s shop that attracted the attention of the police.”

A neighbouring shopkeeper, Max Weil, heard their hammering, informed the City of London Police, and nine unarmed officers arrived at the house. Sergeant Robert Bentley knocked on the door of 11 Exchange Buildings. The door was open by Gardstein and Bentley asked him: “Have you been working or knocking about inside?” Bentley did not answer him and withdrew inside the room. Bentley gently pushed open the door, and was followed by Sergeant Bryant. Constable Arthur Strongman was waiting outside. “The door was opened by some person whom I did not see. Police Sergeant Bentley appeared to have a conversation with the person, and the door was then partly closed, shortly afterwards Bentley pushed the door open and entered.”

The Houndsditch Murders

According to Donald Rumbelow, the author of The Siege of Sidney Street (1973): “Bentley stepped further into the room. As he did so the back door was flung open and a man, mistakenly identified as Gardstein, walked rapidly into the room. He was holding a pistol which he fired as he advanced with the barrel pointing towards the unarmed Bentley. As he opened fire so did the man on the stairs. The shot fired from the stairs went through the rim of Bentley’s helmet, across his face and out through the shutter behind him… His first shot hit Bentley in the shoulder and the second went through his neck almost severing his spinal cord. Bentley staggered back against the half-open door and collapsed backwards over the doorstep so that he was lying half in and half out of the house.”

Siege of Sidney Street
Peter Piaktow

Sergeant Bryant later recalled: “Immediately I saw a man coming from the back door of the room between Bentley and the table. On 6 January I went to the City of London Mortuary and there saw a dead body and I recognised the man. I noticed he had a pistol in his hand, and at once commenced to fire towards Bentley’s right shoulder. He was just in the room. The shots were fired very rapidly. I distinctly heard 3 or 4. I at once put up my hands and I felt my left hand fall and I fell out on to the footway. Immediately the man commenced to fire Bentley staggered back against the door post of the opening into the room. The appearance of the pistol struck me as being a long one. I think I should know a similar one again if I saw it. Only one barrel, and it seemed to me to be a black one. I next remember getting up and staggered along by the wall for a few yards until I recovered myself. I was going away from Cutler Street. I must have been dazed as I have a very faint recollection of what happened then.”

Constable Ernest Woodhams ran to help Bentley and Bryant. He was immediately shot by one of the gunman. The Mauser bullet shattered his thigh bone and he fell unconscious to the ground. Two men with guns came from inside the house. Strongman later recalled: “A man aged about 30, height 5 ft 6 or 7, pale thin face, dark curly hair and dark moustache, dress dark jacket suit, no hat, who pointed the revolver in the direction of Sergeant Tucker and myself, firing rapidly. Strongman was shot in the arm, but Sergeant Charles Tucker was shot twice, once in the hip and once in the heart. He died almost instantly.

The Death of George Gardstein

As George Gardstein left the house he was tackled by Constable Walter Choat who grabbed him by the wrist and fought him for possession of his gun. Gardstein pulled the trigger repeatedly and the bullets entered his left leg. Choat, who was a big, muscular man, 6 feet 4 inches tall, managed to hold onto Gardstein. Other members of the gang rushed to his Gardstein’s assistance and turned their guns on Choat and he was shot five more times. One of these bullets hit Gardstein in the back. The men pulled Choat from Gardstein and carried him from the scene of the crime.

Piaktow, Yakov Peters, Yourka Dubof and Fritz Svaars, half dragged and half carried Gardstein along Cutler Street. Isaac Levy, a tobacconist, nearly collided with them. Peters and Dubof lifted their guns and pointed them at Levy’s face and so he let them pass. For the next half-hour they were able to drag the badly wounded man through the East End back streets to 59 Grove Street. Max Smoller and Nina Vassilleva, went to a doctor who they thought might help. He refused and threatened to tell the police.

They eventually persuaded Dr. John Scanlon, to treat Gardstein. He discovered that Gardstein had a bullet lodged in the front of the chest. Scanlon asked Gardstein what had happened. He claimed that he had been shot by accident by a friend. However, he refused to be taken to hospital and so Scanlon, after giving him some medicine to deaden the pain and receiving his fee of ten shillings, he left, promising to return later. Despite being nursed by Sara Trassjonsky, Gardstein died later that night.

The following day Dr. Scanlon told the police about treating Gardstein for gun-shot wounds. Detective Inspector Frederick Wensley and Detective Sergeant Benjamin Leeson arrived to find Trassjonsky burning documents. Soon afterwards, a Daily Chronicle journalist arrived: “The room itself is about ten feet by nine, and about seven feet high. A gaudy paper decorates the walls and two or three cheap theatrical prints are pinned up. A narrow iron bedstead painted green, with a peculiarly shaped head and foot faces the door. On the bedstead was a torn and dirty woollen mattress, a quantity of blood-stained clothing, a blood-stained pillow and several towels also saturated with blood. Under the window stood a string sewing machine, and a rickety table, covered with a piece of mole cloth, occupied the centre of the room. On it stood a cup and plate, a broken glass, a knife and fork, and a couple of bottles and a medicine bottle. Strangely contrasting with the dirt and squalor, a painted wooden sword lay on the table, and another, to which was attached a belt of silver paper, lay on a broken desk supported on a stool. On the mantelpiece and on a cheap whatnot stood tawdry ornaments. In an open cupboard beside the fireplace were a few more pieces of crockery, a tin or two, and a small piece of bread. A mean and torn blind and a strip of curtain protected the window, and a roll of surgeon’s lint on the desk. The floor was bare and dirty, and, like the fireplace, littered with burnt matches and cigarette ends – altogether a dismal and wretched place to which the wounded desperado had been carried to die.” Another journalist described the dead man “as handsome as Adonis – a very beautiful corpse.”

The Hunt for Peter Piaktow and Fritz Svaars

The police offered a £500 reward for the capture of the men responsible for the deaths of Charles Tucker, Robert Bentley and Walter Choat. One man who came forward was Nicholas Tomacoff, who had been a regular visitor to 59 Grove Street. He told them that he knew that identities of three members of the gang. This included Yakov Peters. On 22nd December, 1910, Tomacoff took the police to 48 Turner Street, where Peters was living. When he was arrested Peters answered: “It is nothing to do with me. I can’t help what my cousin Fritz (Svaars) has done.”

Tomacoff also provided information on Yourka Dubof. He was described as “twenty-one, 5 feet 8 inches in height of pale complexion, with dark-brown hair”. When he was arrested he commented: “You make mistake. I will go with you.” He admitted that he had been at 59 Grove Street on the afternoon of 16th December 1910. He said he had gone to see Peter, who he knew was a painter, in an attempt to find work, as he had just been sacked from his previous job. At the police station Dubof and Peters were identified by Isaac Levy, as two of the men carrying George Gardstein in Cutler Street.

Siege of Sidney Street
Wanted Poster

The City of London Police now issued a wanted poster with descriptions of two of the men, Piaktow andFritz Svaars, that Tomacoff had told them about: “Fritz Svarrs, lately residing at 59 Grove Street… age about 24 or 25, height 5 feet 8 or 9 inches, complexion sallow, hair fair, medium moustache – turned up at ends, lighter in colour than hair of head – eyes grey, nose rather small – slightly turned up – chin a little upraised, has a few small pimples on face, cheek-bones prominent, shoulders square but bend slightly forward: dress brown tweed suit (thin light stripes), dark melton overcoat (velvet collar, nearly new), usually wears a grey Irish tweed cap (red stripes), but has been sometimes seen wearing a trilby hat.”

The police did not have the name of Piaktow: “A man known as Peter the Painter, also lately residing at 59 Grove Street… age 28 to 30, height 5 feet 9 or 10 inches, complexion sallow, hair and medium moustache black, clear skin, eyes dark, medium build, reserved manner; dress brown tweed suit (broad dark stripes), black overcoat (velvet collar, rather old), black hard felt hat, black lace boots, rather shabby, believed to be a native of Russia. Both are Anarchists.”

The poster also included a photograph of a dead George Gardstein, who was described as “age about 24, height 5 feet 9 inches, complexion pale, hair brown, slight dark moustache worn slightly up at ends, good physique.” The poster also contained the information: “The above reward of £500 will be paid by the Commissioner of Police for the City of London to any person who shall give such information as shall lead to the arrest of these persons, or in proportion to the number of such persons who are arrested.”

The Siege of Sidney Street

On 1st January, 1911, the police was told that they would find the wanted men in the lodgings rented by a Betsy Gershon at 100 Sidney Street. It seems that one of the gang, William Sokolow, was Betsy’s boyfriend. This was part of a block of 10 houses just off Commercial Road. The tenant was a ladies tailor, Samuel Fleischmann. With his wife and children he occupied part of the house and sublet the rest. Other residents included an elderly couple and another tailor and his large family. Betsy had a room at the front of the second floor.

Superintendent Mulvaney was put in charge of the operation. At midday on 2nd January, two large horse-drawn vehicles concealing armed policeman were driven into the street and the house placed under observation. By the afternoon over 200 officers were on the scene, with armed men stationed in shop doorways facing the house. Meanwhile, plain-clothed policemen began to evacuate the residents of 100 Sidney Street.

Mulvaney decided that any attempt to arrest the men would be very difficult. He later recalled: “The measurements of the passage and staircase will show how futile any attempt to storm or rush the place would have been, with two men… dominating the position from the head of the stairs and where, to an extent, they were well under cover from fire. The passage at one discharge would have been blocked by fallen men; had any even reached the stairs, it could only have been by climbing over the bodies of their comrades, when they would stand little chance of getting further; had they even done this the two desperadoes could retreat up the staircase to the first and second storey, on each of which, what had occurred below would have been repeated.”

At daybreak Detective Inspector Frederick Wensley gave orders for a brick to be thrown at the window of Betsy Gershon’s room. The men inside responded by firing their guns. Detective Sergeant Benjamin Leeson was hit and collapsed to the ground. Wensley went to help him. Leeson is recorded as saying: “Mr Wensley, I am dying. They have shot me through the heart. Goodbye. Give my love to the children. Bury me at Putney.” Dr. Nelson Johnstone examined him and discovered the wound was level with the left nipple and about two inches in towards the centre of the chest.

Winston Churchill, the Home Secretary, decided to go to Sidney Street. His biographer, Clive Ponting, commented: “His presence had been unnecessary and uncalled for – the senior Army and police officers present could easily have coped with the situation on their own authority. But Churchill with his thirst for action and drama could not resist the temptation.” As soon as he arrived Churchill ordered the troops to be called in. This included 21 Scots Guards marksmen who took up their places on the top floor of a nearby building.

Philip Gibbs, was reporting the Siege of Sidney Street for the The Daily Chronicle and had positioned himself on the roof of The Rising Sun public house: “In the top-floor room of the anarchists’ house we observed a gas jet burning, and presently some of us noticed the white ash of burnt paper fluttering out of a chimney pot… They were setting fire to the house, upstairs and downstairs. The window curtains were first to catch alight, then volumes of black smoke, through which little tongues of flame licked up, poured through the empty window frames. They must have used paraffin to help the progress of the fire, for the whole house was burning with amazing rapidity.”

Siege of Sidney Street
Winston Churchill, in the top hat, at the Siege of Sidney Street.

Assistant Divisional Officer of the London Fire Brigade, Cyril Morris, was told to report to Winston Churchill: “As I arrived at the fire. I was met by one of the largest crowds I have ever seen – thickly jammed masses of humanity. It looked as though the whole of East London must he there. I had to force my car through a crowd at least 200 feet deep in a small street, and as I emerged into the cleared space I was met with a most amazing sight. A company of Guards were lying about the street as far as possible under cover, firing intermittently at the house. from which bursts of fire were coming from automatic pistols. I was told to report to Mr Winston Churchill as he was in charge of operations.” Morris was shocked when Churchill told him to “Stand by and don’t approach the fire until you receive further orders.”

Philip Gibbs described how the men inside the house fired on the police: “For a moment I thought I saw one of the murderers standing on the window sill. But it was a blackened curtain which suddenly blew outside the window frame and dangled on the sill. A moment later I had one quick glimpse of a man’s arm with a pistol in his hand. He fired and there was a quick flash. At the same moment a volley of shots rang out from the Guardsmen opposite. It is certain that they killed the man who had shown himself, for afterwards they found his body (or a bit of it) with a bullet through the skull. It was not long afterwards that the roof fell in with an upward rush of flame and sparks. The inside of the house from top to bottom was a furnace. The detectives, with revolvers ready, now advanced in Indian file. One of them ran forward and kicked at the front door. It fell in, and a sheet of flame leaped out. No other shot was fired from within.”

Siege of Sidney Street
The end of the Siege of Sidney Street

Cyril Morris was one of those who searched the building afterwards: “We found two charred bodies in the debris, one of them had been shot through the head and the other had apparently died of suffocation. At the inquest a verdict of justifiable homicide was returned. Much discussion took place afterward as to what caused the fire. Did the anarchists deliberately set the building alight, thus creating a diversion to enable them to escape? The view of the London Fire Brigade at the time was that a gas pipe was punctured on one of the upper floors, and that the gas was lighted either at the time of the bullet piercing it or perhaps afterwards by a bullet causing a spark which ignited the escaping gas.”

The police identified the two dead men as Fritz Svaars and William Sokolow. It was believed that Peter Piaktow (Peter the Painter) had escaped from the burning building. The bodies were taken to Ilford Cemetery and carried into the church. When the chaplain was told of their identity he expressed his strong disapproval of their bodies being brought into the church and said that it was an outrage to public decency that they should be buried in the same ground as two of the murdered policemen. Later that day they were buried in unconsecrated ground without a religious service.

What happened to Peter Piaktow (Peter the Painter)?

Peter Piaktow disappeared and was never heard of again. Donald Rumbelow, the author of The Siege of Sidney Street (1973), has argued: “There is a theory that the Houndsditch robbery was masterminded by an agent provocateur of the Tsarists to provoke them into expropriations which would bring them to the notice of the police and ensure their deportation to Russia. Peter the Painter is generally credited with being the agent provocateur and is allowed to escape with the connivance of the police and the intelligence service.”

 The Plough and The Stars Editors Note 

There are many theories and myths surrounding the escape of Peter The Painter aka Peter Piaktow, some more fanciful than others.  In a recent documentary Anarchists claimed that Peter had turned his back on Libertarian Socialism, returned to Russia joining the Cheka, Socialist Russia’s  very necessary guard against counter-revolution founded by ‘Iron Felix’ Dzerzinsky (a forerunner of the NKVD later renamed the KGB) and eventually fell foul of one of Stalin’s purges.  However, to very roughly paraphrase Mandy Rice Davies‘ testimony at her court appearance at the height of the Profumo scandal, “they would say that wouldn’t they!”

Perhaps one of the greatest tragedies for the Proletariat during the Sydney Street Siege can be read in the news article below:


……………………………..Just a pity he was not wearing a shorter hat one might well say

National Hunger Strike 35th Anniversary Commemoration – Derry Sunday 21 August 2016

Posted in Alex McGuigan, Commemoration, Human Rights, Hunger Strikes, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars


The National Hunger Strike 35th Anniversary Commemoration leaves Rosemount in Derry at 2pm where it will make it’s way with the Red Flag of International Socialism leading the Colour Party to the Irish Republican Socialist Movement memorial in the City Cemetery.  Transport arrangements can be arranged via the IRSP HQ at Costello House, Belfast; the Derry offices of the IRSP or via your local IRSP representative

“Must we live in the shadow of the tyrant in the chains of slavery?  And must we die to shake the shackles from our limbs and taste the fruits of liberty?

Surely it is not to much to ask for freedom and lasting peace in our native land?  And surely it is not too much to be treated as we truly are – soldiers of Ireland and of the Irish People”

(INLA Volunteer Mickey Devine who laid down his life for political status on 20 August 1981)





Saoirse go deo!



Alex McGuigan, Belfast

British Internment in Ireland in 2016

Posted in Internment, Ireland, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 6, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

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As the 45th anniversary of internment without trial, termed by the British State as ‘Operation Demetrius’ looms, we must remind ourselves that this tactic is still used by the British State, and enforced by their proxies in Ireland today.

The most recent and serious case is without doubt that of Derry Republican Tony Taylor, who was arrested by the PSNI in March and returned to Maghaberry Prison on the instructions of then Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.

Tony Taylor was arrested and incarcerated for the apparent crime of ‘posing a risk to the public.’ In reality, what the British Government were stating was that due to Tony Taylor’s political activism, they had him put back into a prison cell, taken away from his family and friends on no charges whatsoever.

This sinister situation cannot be dressed up in any other way. It is clear that Republican Activists can be lifted off the streets when they become too much of a headache or threat to the ficticious ‘peace process.’

With this in mind, who will be the next family to miss out on having their Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister, Grandfather or Grandmother around for a considerable amount of time? All on the orders and say so of a British overlord who holds no mandate whatsoever in Ireland.

We keep hearing from the State media and the establishment Party’s at Stormont that we have moved on from the ‘dark days’, that all is rosy in the garden. Yes, that’s true for those who tow the line of the apparent great and the good.

For Republican Activists who still fight against the injustices of the British Government in Ireland, this is certainly not the case. It is open season on Republican Activists when the British ‘Secretary of State’, Mi5 and their puppets at Stormont deem it necessary.

British internment in Ireland may not be as in your face and transparent as it was in 1971, however the cases of Marian Price, Martin Corey and now Tony Taylor prove that this draconian tactic was never dropped and will never be dropped by the British State as long as those principled Republicans who expose this rotten, unchanged and unchangeable statelet remain.

The call of ‘SMASH INTERNMENT’ continues for Irish Republicans in 2016.

Michael Kelly
Belfast IRSP.

New Badges For My Collection – Much Appreciated!

Posted in Irish Republican Socialism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 30, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars

A fellow Republican Socialist badge collector, Australia’s James Connolly, very kindly sent me some new badges for my collection.  They are very much appreciated, comrade!

badge 02

The Dominic, Mary and Declan McGlinchey IRSP Cumann

badge 01

The James Connolly Association, Australia. Featuring the Plough and The Stars set on a red star with the crossed flags of the Irish National Flag and the Australian Aboriginal Flag

(The Aboriginal flag was designed by Harold Thomas, a Luritja man of Central Australia, and was first flown on National Aboriginal Day in Adelaide in 1971)

badge 03

The James Connolly Association Australia Easter Rising Centenary badge

Many thanks Comrade!


Alex McGuigan


Justice For The Craigavon Two -Fight This Miscarriage of Justice

Posted in The Craigavon Two, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 7, 2016 by The Plough & The Stars


By now the gross miscarriage of justice visited upon two men, John-Paul Wooton (who when arrested was merely 17 years of age) and Brendan McConville should be reverberating around the world.  Both were hastily arrested following the shooting of a member of the local paramilitary police force, the PSNI/RUC.  Both were held illegally over the maximum limit of time of detention for questioning that the British government supposedly legislates for.  Both men, during detention following arrest, at their trial and post-conviction, that saw them both imprisoned for life, have consistently denied any involvement in the ‘crime’ they have been accused of.  Add into the mix the significant involvement of the shady operatives of the British intelligence agencies, flawed electronic surveillance and highly dubious witnesses and we have all the ingredients of yet another ‘fitting up’ of Irish people by the British establishment seeking a hasty arrest and conviction for their satisfaction.

As we have seen in the not too distant past, the British judiciary who along with the Legislature and Executive constitute ‘Government’ in the so-called Liberal Democratic model, although supposedly independent of each other, they are very far from it, not least their use of Diplock political trials.  A casual glance at Hansard, where one can read Lord Denning’s legal opinion regarding overturning clear miscarriages of justices, in the following quote he is referring to the Birmingham Six:

“Just consider the course of events if this action is allowed to proceed to trial. If the six men fail it will mean much time and money will have been expended to no good purpose. If the six men win, it will mean that the police are guilty of perjury, that they are guilty of violence and threats, that the confessions were invented and improperly admitted in evidence and the convictions were erroneous.

“This is such an appalling vista that every sensible person in the land would say that it cannot be right that these actions should go any further.”

This attitude is still clearly prevalent within the British judiciary and structurally the British government, which in short means that it is better to have innocent people imprisoned than for the public to become aware of miscarriages of justice.  So much for Liberal-Democracy’s supposed in built ‘checks and balances!’


Justice For the Craigavon Two Website

Perhaps the best resource for learning more about the gross miscarriage of justice against young John-Paul Wooton and Brendan Mcconville is the excellent campaigning website Justice for the Craigavon Two which has excellent details regarding the entire case, the PSNI/RUC abuses, the deviant involvement of British intelligence agencies, the farce of a trial and the latest in the campaign to free these two innocent men.  I have included an article from the website in the form of a letter from The Craigavon Two, which everyone should read closely and please share this appeal from two innocent men:

We Are Innocent!

On the 30th of March 2012 we, Brendan Mc Conville and John Paul Wootton, were convicted, and sentenced to spend the rest of our lives in prison, for the fatal shooting of Constable Steven Carroll in Craigavon on the 9th of March 2010.

While We fully understanding and empathise with the grief of the Carroll family and with no desire to exacerbate that grief, we wish to take this opportunity to state publicly that we have been convicted of something that we had nothing to do with, we are innocent and we do not believe that we received a fair hearing at our trial under a diplock court.

Further to this we also believe that Justice Girvan erred in his judgement of the information presented and convicted us more on the emotional and political furore created by the case than on the evidence presented. For this reason we have instructed our legal teams to appeal our convictions.

This appeal will centre on the following pieces of evidential information that were never fully dealt with by Justice Girvan, they are;

  • The prosecutions’ key witness, witness M, despite having a prescribed impairment of his sight, claimed that he seen Brendan Mc Conville at a distance that would be medical impossible,
  • It took witness M almost a year to come forward with this information and since that date he has been given anonymity and provided for in protective custody.
  • Witness M’s eye-witness account described Brendan as wearing a coat of a different style and colour from that presented by the prosecution,
  • This coat, recovered within hours of the shooting, was dry yet the weather conditions at the time  were rainy,
  • The forensic examination of this coat and the fire-arm recovered after the shooting did not match,
  • Although multiple sources of DNA were found on the coat only Brendans’ were followed up on,
  • A tracking device that had allegedly been planted on John Paul’s car by MI5 and was used as evidence to place us at the scene of the shooting, went ‘missing’ for a period of time, only to be returned in an altered state and “with data missing”,
  • Although the assault rifle and several rounds of ammunition used in the shooting were recovered no forensic link was made with either of us.

In short a case that placed us at the scene and attributed any role to us was never made, let alone proven. Rather, because the PSNI/MI5 were under so much pressure to obtain a conviction, evidence was constructed and altered to ‘fit the case’ and not examined as pieces of information that could prove or disprove our innocence.

Hopefully this miscarriage of justice can be over turned at our appeal and this nightmare of suffering for us and our families ended. However, after the experience we have already had we do not have a great deal of confidence in the criminal justice system, hence, we are asking you, the public, to follow the course of our appeal and to see for yourself the manner in which information is dealt with and how ‘justice’ is being administered in your name. Let’s not wait 15 – 20 years to deal with a miscarriage of justice, let us do so now,


Brendan Mc Conville and John Paul Wootton.

Maghaberry Jail Co. Antrim



Please share, visit the campaign website and ask what you can do to help!  You could be next!

Alex Mcguigan





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