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 1945–49,[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]

Lancelot and Doris Curran had three children, Michael, Patricia and Desmond, a barrister and latterly a Roman Catholic convert and missionary in South Africa.[2][5] On 12 November 1952, Patricia, aged 19, and a student at Queen's University, Belfast, 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.[6]

A 20 year old RAF technician, Iain Hay Gordon, who had met Patricia at the Presbyterian church they both attended, was convicted of her murder. His sentence was overturned in 2000 after the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal found it to be unsafe.[7] Scapegoat, a BBC Northern Ireland drama about the conviction of 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 20 December 1961; it was the last hanging in Northern Ireland.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Later years and death[edit]

Sir Lamcelot's first wife, Lady Doris Curran, died on 29 May 1975. He remarried, to Margaret Pearce a year later. He died in Sussex in 1984.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Privy Counsellors of Ireland,; accessed 26 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Mystery coverup (part 2),; accessed 26 September 2017.
  3. ^ The Government of Northern Ireland,; accessed 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ The Stormont Papers
  5. ^ a b Denied justice by a form of words,; accessed 26 September 2017.
  6. ^ BBC News info about Patricia Curran murder,; accessed 26 September 2017.
  7. ^ Scotsman who became 'non-person' is cleared of killing after 47 years,; accessed 26 September 2017.
  8. ^ Scapegoat found for high society murder,; accessed 26 September 2017.
Parliament of Northern Ireland
Preceded by
John Dermot Campbell
Member of Parliament for Carrick
Succeeded by
Alexander Hunter
Party political offices
Preceded by
Sir Wilson Hungerford
Unionist Chief Whip
Succeeded by
Walter Topping
Political offices
Preceded by
Sir Wilson Hungerford
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Finance
Succeeded by
Walter Topping
Preceded by
William Lowry
Attorney General for Northern Ireland
Succeeded by
Edmond Warnock