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Rose Dugdale, Heiress Turned Irish Independence Fighter, Dies at 82

Rose Dugdale, an Oxford-educated Englishwoman who left a life of wealth to become a partisan activist fighting for Irish independence, in a career that included bomb making, hijacking and art theft, died on Monday in Dublin. She was 82.

Her death, in a nursing home, was confirmed by Aengus O Snodaigh, a friend and a member of the Irish Parliament. No cause was given.

Throughout the 1970s, Ms. Dugdale, whose family owned a large share of the insurance company Lloyd’s of London, captivated the British and Irish news media with her exploits. Her story — like that of Patricia Hearst, another heiress-turned-revolutionary who was making news in the United States around the same time — fed a narrative about glamorous, radical youth run amok in the post-’60s era:

Ms. Dugdale rejected her inheritance and liquidated her trust fund to support a variety of social and political causes. She and an accomplice were arrested in 1973 for stealing thousands of dollars in art and silverware from her parents’ home, with plans to sell it and give the proceeds to the Irish Republican Army.

Her father, Eric, appeared as a witness at her trial, and under British law she was allowed to cross-examine him herself — an opportunity she used to make political statements.

“I love you,” she told her father, “but hate everything you stand for.”

The judge was nevertheless lenient with her, handing down just a two-year suspended sentence because, he said, the chances that she would break the law again were “extremely remote.”

He was wrong. Immediately after her trial, she traveled to Ireland, where she and another accomplice, Eddie Gallagher, hijacked a helicopter and pilot to drop makeshift bombs on a base run by the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the police force in Northern Ireland.

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