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Unsolved Murders

Ian Gow

Age: 53

Sex: male

Date: 30 Jul 1990

Place: Dog House, Hankham, East Sussex

Source: www.kentlive.news

Ian Gow died after a bomb was planted under his Austin Montego car in the driveway of his home in Hankham, East Sussex.

He was a Conservative Member of Parliament for Eastbourne and a loyalist. He was said to have been a resolute defender for the cause of Ulster Unionism. He had been a Member of Parliament for 16 years.

The bomb was said to have been planted in the early hours of the morning beneath his car by a member or members of the IRA.

The bomb had gone off at 8.30am on 30 July 1990 and it was thought that 4.5lb of Semtex had been used.

The bomb went off as he was reversing out of his drive. He suffered severe wounds to his lower body and died about ten minutes after.

The IRA later claimed responsibility for Ian Gow's murder. They said that they had targetted him because he was a 'close personal associate' of Margaret Thatcher and because of his role in developing British policy on Northern Ireland.

He had been Margaret Thatcher's parliamentary private secretary in 1979 and later went on to be a minister, but later resigned his Government role in 1985 after Margaret Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish agreement which he thought was a concession to terrorists and an insult to Her Majesty's loyal subjects in Ulster.

It was said that although he knew that he was a possible IRA target, he refused to take more than routine security precautions, and was quoted as once having said when asked if he varied his route to work and checked under his car, 'I am at less risk than any serving officer in Her Majesty's Royal Ulster Constabulary, and anyway, I wouldn't know what to look for'.

It was noted that, unlike many Members of Parliament, Ian Gow had left his telephone number and home address in the local telephone book.

Ian Gow was buried at St Saviour’s and St Peter’s Church in South Street.

A plaque was later put up for him in the chamber of the House of Commons next to a similar plaque commemorating Airey Neave, another member of parliament who was blown up by the IRA.


*map pointers are rough estimates based on known location details as per Place field above.


see The Telegraph

see BBC

see Parliament

see Mirror

see Newcastle Journal - Thursday 09 August 1990