In a foreword for a new book about Gerry Conlon, Hollywood star Johnny Depp says he “would have taken a bullet for” the late Belfast man who served 15 years in prison for the the Guildford pub bombing.
In 1989 Gerry Conlon had his conviction overturned for the 1974 Provisional IRA bomb attack on a pub in Surrey in which four soldiers and a civilian were killed.
His story was told in the 1993 film ‘In the Name of the Father’, where he was played by Daniel Day-Lewis.
He died in 2014 and his lifelong friend – Richard O’Rawe – has detailed his “extraordinary” life in a new book entitled ‘In The Name Of The Son’.
Having been freed from prison Mr Conlon received close to £1m from government compensation, movie and book deals. His new lifestyle saw him moving in the same circles as Johnny Depp, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Shane MacGowan.
Hollywood actor Depp – who stars as Jack Sparrow in the long-running Pirates of the Carribbean film saga – has penned a foreword for the new book about Mr Conlan. He writes: “This book is a tour de force ... a chronicle of the triumph of the human spirit over extreme adversity. It is a story of hope. It is the story of a man I loved and would have taken a bullet for.”
According to the book’s blurb on Amazon, Mr Conlan suffered a fall from grace after experiencing the Hollywood lifestyle.
It states: “Following his release, Conlon Conlon seemed to have it all. Yet within five years he was hooked on crack cocaine and eating out of bins in the backstreets of London. Beyond the elation of his release was the awful descent into addiction, isolation and self-loathing.”
The book’s summary adds: “But this is a book about the resilience of the human spirit. What emerges from the darkness and the addiction is Gerry Conlon the pacifist; the man who came to be recognised around the world as a campaigner against miscarriages of justice.”
The book also claimed to reveal new evidence of statement tampering by the authorities which would have cleared Conlon at the initial trial.