Brighton Bomber Patrick Magee back on anniversary

Lord Tebbit was injured in the blast, which happened during the Tory conference. Picture: Getty
Lord Tebbit was injured in the blast, which happened during the Tory conference. Picture: Getty
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BRIGHTON Bomber Patrick Magee will return to the city on the 30th anniversary of the explosion, which ripped through The Grand Hotel killing five people and seriously injuring 34.

Magee will take part in a panel discussion following a screening of documentary Beyond Right & Wrong in nearby Hove.

The programme follows the story of Jo Berry, whose father Sir Anthony Berry was killed in the explosion, and her reconciliatory journey with Magee.

Magee was handed eight life sentences at the Old Bailey in 1986, with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 35 years.

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He was released in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement – having served 13 years for the crime.

Former Tory minister Lord Tebbit, who was injured in the attack, which also left his wife confined to a wheelchair, has revealed that he still thinks every day about the IRA bombing.

The bomb ripped through The Grand Hotel in the early hours of 12 October, 1984.

The intended target was prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her Tory Cabinet, who were staying at the hotel during the Conservative Party conference.

But while Mrs Thatcher and her husband Denis escaped injury, others who were caught up in the explosion at 2:53am were not so fortunate.

Lord Tebbit, who was trade and industry secretary at the time, was severely injured in the blast.

His wife Margaret was left paralysed from the neck down and needing 24-hour care.

“I think about it every day in the sense that I look at my wife who was sentenced to life imprisonment in a wheelchair,” he said.

Lord Tebbit, 83, says the anniversary is “just another day” as he and Lady Tebbit live with the injuries they sustained in the attack.

He said: “There is nothing really to celebrate, or mark, it just goes on.”

Age, he says, has brought its own problems, exacerbating the injuries he and his wife suffered.

He said: “There are only two alternatives. You either live with it or you die with it, and that’s the way it is.”

Lord Tebbit also said he has nothing but contempt for bomber Magee of whom he said: “Magee is just a low creature and an object of contempt, particularly as he now tries to make something of a living out of talking about it.

“He was no more than a monkey on an organ grinder’s organ.” The Grand Hotel will be marking the anniversary with a minute’s silence at noon tomorrow.

Staff will gather around a plaque in the lobby, which was unveiled by Lord Tebbit on the 25th anniversary of the bombing.

The flag on the roof of the hotel will be flown at half mast for the whole day and the flags on the front of the building will be taken down as a mark of respect.

General manager Andrew Mosley said: “It is an opportunity to remind the staff and ourselves of what happened 30 years ago on that day . . .

“. . . To reflect on what it must have been like for our colleagues at the time and to remember those who lost their lives, those who were injured, the community in Brighton that was so badly affected, and members of the emergency services who were called to the blast.

“The message we want to send above all else is that we have not forgotten what happened here 30 years ago.”