Lancelot Curran

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Major Sir Lancelot Ernest Curran (8 March 1899 - 20 October 1984[1]) was a Northern Ireland High Court judge and parliamentarian.

He was elected as Ulster Unionist Member of Parliament for Carrick in the Stormont Parliament serving from 1945 till 1949,[2] and was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance (Chief Whip) (17 July 1945 - 12 June 1947).[2][3] Curran was Attorney General for Northern Ireland (6 June 1947 – 4 November 1949), the youngest in the history of that parliament.[2][4] He was a member of the Orange Order and became a member of the Privy Council of Northern Ireland.[1][5]

Curran had three children including Patricia and Desmond, a barrister and latterly a Roman Catholic convert and missionary.[2][5] On 12 November 1952, Patricia was murdered; her body was found in the driveway of the Curran home, Glen House, Whiteabbey, County Antrim. She had been stabbed thirty-seven times. She was nineteen and a student at the Queen's University, Belfast.[6] In 2000, Iain Hay Gordon, the man convicted of her murder, had his sentence overturned after the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal found it to be unsafe.[7] Scapegoat, a BBC Northern Ireland drama about the conviction of Iain Hay Gordon, was broadcast in 2009.[8]

Curran presided over the trial of Robert McGladdery for the murder of 19-year-old Pearl Gamble, near Newry, in 1961. McGladdery protested his innocence but was found guilty and hanged at Crumlin Road jail in Belfast on December 20 1961; it was the last hanging on Irish soil. A fictionalized account of the trial and execution of McGladdery - Orchid Blue - was written by Eoin McNamee and published in 2010 (McNamee had previously written a Booker Prize-nominated novel, Blue Tango, about the murder of Patricia Curran). Another McNamee novel, Blue Is The Night (published in 2014), deals with Curran's involvement in a murder trial in the Northern Ireland of the late 1940s.

Curran's first wife, Doris, died on 29 May 1975. He married Margaret Pearce a year later. He died in Sussex in 1984.

References[edit]

Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
John Dermot Campbell
Member of Parliament for Carrick
1945–1950
Succeeded by
Alexander Hutton
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sir Wilson Hungerford
Unionist Chief Whip
1945–1947
Succeeded by
Walter Topping
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Wilson Hungerford
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Finance
1945–1947
Succeeded by
Walter Topping
Preceded by
William Lowry
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
1947–1949
Succeeded by
Edmond Warnock