Brighton Bomber Patrick Magee has revealed he plotted an attack against Jim Callaghan’s Labour party at their conference in the seaside town, before going on to kill five people in the 1984 blast during the Tory’s event.
Magee placed a bomb at the Grand Hotel on the Sussex seafront in a bid to kill Margaret Thatcher and her Conservative cabinet as part of an IRA attack.
Five people died in the blast and 31 were injured. Magee was given eight life sentences but was released in 1999 after serving just 14 years in prison.
He has now revealed how seven years before the Grand Hotel attack, he had scouted out the Brighton conference centre in October 1977 as the IRA plotted to hit back at the then-Labour Government over its Northern Ireland policies.
Patrick Magee left a time-delayed bomb in a room at Brighton’s Grand Hotel with the intention of killing Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet members during the Conservative Party conference of 1984
Magee told The Guardian it was retaliation for then-Northern Ireland secretary Roy Mason’s approval to interrogate IRA suspects.
He said: ‘They had the green light to torture us, without a doubt. That was a Labour administration.’
He said the atmosphere at Castlereagh, an IRA holding centre in Belfast, had ‘changed,’ when he visited after Mason came to power, claiming that he was beaten for two hours after interrogations were approved.
Magee, who was released from prison in 1999, has revealed he scouted out a Labour Party conference seven years before the Brighton bombing, as the IRA wanted to retaliate over interrogations of suspected members
In a new memoir, Where Grieving Begins, Magee writes: ‘We stood on the top floor of a shopping mall overlooking the rear of the Brighton centre during the British Labour party’s annual conference and imagined Mason’s reaction if he knew how close we were.’
In 1984 Magee stayed at the Grand Hotel under the pseudonym Roy Walsh.
He planted a time-delayed bomb under the bath in his room, which was five floors above Margaret Thatcher’s suite for the Conservative Party conference taking place in the seaside town.
On October 12 the bomb went off, Thatcher, who was working on her conference speech at the time, and her husband Dennis were unharmed.
Five people were killed in the Brighton Bombing, but Margaret Thatcher and her Cabinet members, the original IRA targets, all left unscathed
Five people were killed, while two were left permanently disabled, including Lady Margaret Tebbit, the wife of Conservative life peer, Lord Norman Tebbit.
The IRA claimed responsibility the next day and said it would try again.
On 24 June 1985 following investigations into who had stayed in the room, Patrick Magee was arrested in Glasgow.
Four members of an IRA unit were also imprisoned for involvement in the plot.
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