PERFORMER Ricky Tomlinson is appealing for two Wrexham men to come forward to provide vital evidence in his fight for justice.
Tomlinson, best known for his role as Jim Royle in the The Royle Family, has been fighting for the rights of the Shrewsbury 24, a group of trade unionists who were jailed in 1973 after picketing building sites.
He believes he and 23 others were framed and wrongly imprisoned and is fighting to clear the name of the men involved, via an appeal to the Criminal Case Review Commission.
Now he needs the help of two Wrexham-based former pickets.
The two men, Billy Byrne and Peter Maroney, were in the courtroom the day the pickets were jailed and Tomlinson says both men may be able to provide testimony which would be vital in enabling the case review to progress.
“Both Billy and Peter were members of the original 24 and were in the courtroom that day and they know what went on”, he said.
“We believe they must be around the age of 68, but what we do know is they are both from Wrexham and it would be a fantastic help if they could get in touch.
“There was utter pandemonium that day in the court – we knew it was wrong that we were being jailed.
“It is important now for us to clear the name of the 24 men wrongly prosecuted.”
Tomlinson spent 16 months behind bars as prisoner 573143 after the national building workers strike in 1972 over pay and conditions.
The Shrewsbury pickets were charged with serious criminal offences under an age-old conspiracy law as the then Prime Minister Ted Heath’s Tory Government attempted to bring to a halt strikes and picketing.
Campaigners want documents from cabinet meetings and the secret service to be released to prove their belief that the charges were politically motivated.
Tomlinson said of the criminal case review: “The commission has so far thrown up some amazing discoveries – staggering stuff which rely defies belief.
“It will be the 40th anniversary of our imprisonment soon and the case review trial is coming to its end to coincide with it.
“If anyone who reads this has any information please get in touch even if you don’t think it is relevant.
“If people come forward it could make the difference between clearing our names before we’re no longer around.”
Anyone with information on either of the two Wrexham men Tomlinson is calling to come forward should contact head researcher Eileen Turnbull on