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IRA Bomber Freed After Renouncing Violence

September 4, 1989

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ A former IRA guerrilla sentenced to 30 terms of life imprisonment for sending letter bombs to British officials has been freed because he renounced violence, officials said.

Shane Paul O’Doherty, 33, left Maghaberry prison in Northern Ireland on Sunday after serving 13 years, a spokesman for the government’s Northern Ireland Office in London said. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

O’Doherty claimed to have undergone a transformation after spending two years in jail and in a television broadcast from prison last month he publicly renounced violence and the Irish Republican Army.

To be nearer his family, he was later transferred to prison in Northern Ireland from Wormwood Scrubs jail in London, where he had been serving his sentence.

O’Doherty joined the outlawed IRA fighting British rule in Northern Ireland when he was a schoolboy in Londonderry. He masterminded an 18-month long letter-bomb campaign in the 1970s, and his targets included then-Prime Mrime minister Edward Heath and Home Secretary Reginald Maudling. Neither was hurt.

O’Doherty was arrested in May 1975 when an IRA woman was killed in a Londonderry apartment where he made bombs.

He was convicted of attempted murder and given 30 life sentences in 1976.

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