December 12 - 1975 - The Balcombe Street Siege Ends

When the Metropolitan Police entered a flat on Balcombe Street after a six day standoff, they successfully arrested the four men who were holding the couple who lived in the flat hostage. The four, Joe O'Connell, Hugh Doherty, Edward Butler, and Harry Duggan, were also members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army who had been conducting a series of bombings and assassinations in and around London for fourteen months. This seeming victory for authorities in Britain proved a bit fleeting. Although the men were willing to acknowledge their culpability and were initially chased to Balcombe Street after being seen firing guns into a restaurant, they also told their lawyers that there were innocent people in jail for some of their crimes. Specifically, the "Guildford Four," four young people who were arrested for bombing a pub in Guildford, were pointed to as completely innocent. This proved highly problematic for the British authorities, who celebrated their victory in placing the Guildford Four in jail. This also made the actual arrest of the four men in the Balcombe Street siege more troubling than it should have been.

William Floyd