IRISH PEOPLE REVEALS THE MEN WHO KILLED FINUCANE; Murder Plot Hatched by Terrorists and Security Forces

The People (London, England), June 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

IRISH PEOPLE REVEALS THE MEN WHO KILLED FINUCANE; Murder Plot Hatched by Terrorists and Security Forces


Byline: GREG HARKIN

THE terrorists and security force members who set up and killed the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane can be revealed by the Sunday People for the first time today.

In a move set to rock the Government our investigations have uncovered details which show that almost every single person involved in the planning and execution of the 1989 murder was either a member of the security forces or was working for a State agency.

The events which led to Mr Finucane's murder began early that year when the then RUC Chief Constable Sir Jack Hermon and two other senior officers gave a briefing to British Tory Home Office Minister Douglas Hogg in Belfast.

Hermon had claimed that solicitors working in Northern Ireland were helping known paramilitaries beat terror raps.

It was a private briefing.

And Hermon was furious when Hogg rose to speak in the House of Commons during a Prevention of Terrorism Act debate a few weeks later on January 17 to announce that some lawyers in Northern Ireland were `unduly sympathetic to the IRA'.

Hogg was criticised by politicians and lawyers alike for his comments - but he had unwittingly started a chain of events which would lead to the murder of Mr Finucane.

Within hours UDA's west Belfast commander Tommy `Tucker' Lyttle was meeting with his Special Branch handler.

Despite his reign of terror in the city, Lyttle had continued to work for the security forces - an incredible scenario in any other western democracy.

Handlers

Lyttle would later claim that his handler had discussed Hogg's comments and said to him: "Why don't you whack Finucane?"

The UDA's intelligence officer Brian Nelson, an agent of the army undercover unit the Force Research Unit, was summoned to Lyttle's home in Sydney Street West and told to prepare a file on the lawyer.

When Nelson reported back to his handlers, rather than discourage him from taking on the operation FRU members actively encouraged him to go ahead and gave him every possible assistance.

They provided photographs and map details on Mr Finucane's home off the city's Antrim Road.

But even more alarmingly, two different handlers were involved in THREE separate reconnaissance missions at the Finucane family home.

One experienced FRU officer accompanied Nelson on two car trips to the street.

Another officer, posing alongside Nelson as window cleaners, offered their `services' to Mr Finucane's neighbour so they could check out the rear of their target's home.

By this stage it is inconceivable that neither senior RUC Special Branch officers nor senior members of the Army's undercover Force Research Unit did not know Pat Finucane was now a serious UDA target.

If they didn't there were at least two other agents involved in the conspiracy and murder. And the lawyer NEVER received any warnings.

One of those two agents was William Stobie the UDA quarter-master and Special Branch informer.

Before he was murdered last year by the UDA Stobie told me he didn't know who was being targeted on Sunday, February 12, 1989 - the night of Pat Finucane's murder.

But when he handed over weapons for a shooting that day he immediately called his handlers.

He claimed that they appeared to be uninterested in his information - but within minutes an Army helicopter was hovering above the Highfield estate where the weapons hand-over took place.

Within an hour Pat Finucane was shot dead as he ate Sunday dinner with his wife and children.

Stobie called his handlers again. The weapons were fitted with tracking devices prioer to the murder and perhaps the cops could catch the gunmen on their return?

Stobie told me that he believed the reason the hit team was not intercepted - either before or after the murder - was because one of the gunmen, Ken Barrett, was also working for the Special Branch. …

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