Liam Holden

Liam Holden (1953 – 15 September 2022) was an Irish man who, in 1973 at the age of 19, was sentenced to death by hanging following his conviction for killing a British soldier in Northern Ireland. He was the last person sentenced to death in the UK, as Northern Ireland maintained the death penalty following its abolition in Great Britain in 1969.[1] There were, however, cases in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man where death sentences were issued after this date.

Liam Holden
Died15 September 2022
(aged 68)

In July 1973, the British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw, commuted Holden's sentence to life imprisonment.[2][3] He was released in 1989.

In 2002, Holden brought his conviction to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) which investigates miscarriages of justice in Northern Ireland.[4] He gave detailed testimony of being subjected to a wide range of torture techniques, including waterboarding, following his interrogation (with his brother, Patrick) in October 1972 regarding the killing of British Parachute Regiment soldier Private Frank Bell on 17 September 1972.[5][4]

On 21 June 2012, in the light of the CCRC investigation, which confirmed that the methods used to extract confessions were unlawful,[6][7] the conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal in Belfast, when Holden was 58 years old.[5]

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