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Prisoner recalls jail time

Spring has arived...crocuses on Castle Hill outside Lancaster Castle Prison. Picture Garth Hamer

Spring has arived...crocuses on Castle Hill outside Lancaster Castle Prison. Picture Garth Hamer

One of the six men wrongly jailed for the Birmingham pub bombings has visited the former HMP Lancaster Castle where he was imprisoned.

Paddy Hill was a member of the Birmingham Six who were convicted of 21 murders after the bombing of two pubs in Birmingham in 1974.

They always protested their innocence and in 1991 their convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal at the Old Bailey.

Their case is regarded as one of Britain’s most notorious miscarriages of justice.

Paddy was filmed by ITV News after being given exclusive access inside the cells at the castle and the trial courtroom at the adjoining Shire Hall.

He was filmed there by ITV correspondent Keith Wilkinson who worked as a journalist in the Lancaster area at the time of the case in the summer of 1975.

Paddy Hill and the others have alleged in court they faced a number of beatings after their arrests, but Paddy says they were treated very well at Lancaster Castle by the prison officers.

He said many of the officers at Lancaster were convinced they would be freed – and he says their governor even hugged them with tears in his eyes when they were found guilty and given life sentences.

Paddy Hill – who now lives in Scotland – says he will never forget the sound of the bells at the nearby Priory church which he could hear from his cell.

He said:“It’s bad enough being guilty. But when you are innocent, it is your worst nightmare come true.”

The Birmingham Six were later awarded compensation ranging from £840,000 to £1.2million after their convictions were quashed in 1991.

 

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