Conroy, injured in the blast that killed Colvin in Syria, says his friend was far from fearless, but she was all the braver for it
Paul Conroy is elated. When we meet, the news has just broken that a court in Washington DC has ruled that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad is liable for the killing of the Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and the French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik in a rebel-held enclave of Homs in February 2012. Conroy, who was the Sunday Times photographer working with Colvin in Syria, was seriously injured in the rocket attack that killed her, and he has spent the past seven years trying to prove they were deliberately targeted. Today is vindication.
“My opinion was always that the attack wasn’t an accidental crossfire job,” he tells me. “By the nature of the artillery bombardment, the ‘bracketing’ pattern was obvious.” He knows what he’s talking about because, before becoming a photographer, he was a gunner in the army, serving with the Royal Artillery in the 1980s. On the morning of the attack in Homs, he realised rockets were exploding at precise distances on either side of the building in which they were based. The Syrian gunners were pinpointing their target; “walking in” the bombs, to use the army jargon.
A Private War goes on general release in the UK on 15 February. A Q&A with Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Paul Conroy and Matthew Heineman will be broadcast live to cinemas on 4 February. Book tickets at https://aprivatewar.film/
Under the Wire will be shown on BBC Four at 10pm on 11 February.