Documentary shines a light on murder case

Val Thatcher pictured in her home in Kenmare
Val Thatcher pictured in her home in Kenmare
Val and her late husband George pictured in Lauragh in 2010

Sinead Kelleher

Lauragh resident, Val Thatcher. whose late husband, George, spent 18 years behind bars for a crime he claims not to have committed, is hoping that a new documentary will vindicate him.

The only evidence against him at the time was statements from the police.

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Val said it is similar in nature to the high-profile cases of the Birmingham six and the Guilford four.

"It was horrendous what went on, they (the police) were corrupt," said Val.

Val and George Thatcher, who have been living in Lauragh, just outside Kenmare, since 1994. George was found guilty in 1963 of murdering a man at the scene of a armed robbery. At the time this crime was known as capital murder and he was given the death sentence. This was subsequently abolished and George spent 17 years in jail but has always maintained his innocence and even wrote a book on his ordeal.

Val met George when she began writing to him in prison and the couple married when he was released. They moved to Lauragh in 1994 where they lived until recently. Now Val lives in Kenmare and she has shared their story with the BBC for "Murder, Mystery and My Family" on which legal experts examine the evidence of the decades old case and a judge gives his view. Though it has no legal standing Val hopes it helps prove their story.

"I want people to watch it and make up their minds. People are entitled to their opinion but looks at the facts and they are overwhelming."

"I am nervous about it but I hope it will vindicate him," she added.

The documentary will air on BBC one at 9.15am this Thursday, March 28.

Kerryman

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