Martina Shanahan who was jailed for an IRA plot has died in Spain at the age of 56.
Martina was jailed for an IRA plot to kill Tom King, the former Secretary of State. She was a member of the so-called “Winchester Three” and along with fellow accused Finbar Cullen and John McCann gained notoriety and global attention as Winchester Crown Court found them guilty in 1987. A Sentence of 25 years in prison was handed down by the court.
Controversially the British government changed the law for the trial which meant that the jury were allowed to use a suspect’s silence against them, and draw negative conclusions. But after serving two and half years in jail the three saw their convictions overturned on appeal and the three were freed from jail.
After Mr King made a TV statement saying that the three should not be entitled to remain silent, the Court of Appeal ruled that the comments made by Mr King may have prejudiced the case.
The former Master of the Rolls Lord Denning, was seen to criticise the release of the “Winchester three” saying that justice had been betrayed. He explained that, “British justice has been betrayed by the Court of Appeal. In my opinion, justice was done at Winchester Crown Court”.
Derry MLA took to social media and posted a thank you to Martina’s partner Gerry, it said, “Thank you Gerry for allowing me to have a few moments of a yarn into Martina’s ear yesterday, hearing her voice and telling her I love her meant the world to me and I will cherish that moment that you allowed me forever”.
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