ic NorthernIreland - Scappattici Comes Clean Over Tapes

Scappattici Comes Clean Over Tapes

Mar 16 2004

FREDDIE Scappaticci, the man accused of being British Army agent Stakeknife, has now confirmed that he spoke to reporters from ITV's Cook Report team - giving credence to claims that he was a highly-placed informer inside the IRA.

The west Belfast republican - who fled Northern Ireland last week for Italy after warnings his life was in danger - has finally come clean over tape recordings made of him giving away IRA secrets in 1993.

But he still vigorously denies being Stakeknife.

The News Letter revealed last month that some of the recordings had been posted on an American-based website for everyone to hear and spoke to an ITV journalist who confirmed Scappaticci was the man on the tape.

That recording was heard on a UTV Insight programme last night and Scappaticci's solicitor also admitted it was his client that spoke to journalists.

He also said Scappaticci had been helped by priests in west Belfast since he was publicly accused of being Stakeknife.

The News Letter has learned that Scappaticci has been taking Prozac to get through depression; had led a hermit-like existence and has had what sources called "a terrible battle with his conscience" over his IRA past.

Sources also said the west Belfast man would not be joined in Italy by his wife and family who wanted to stay in Andersonstown.

Meanwhile some of the allegations which Scappaticci made to reporters are still the subject of a complaint to police.

Co Armagh man William Frazer of the victims' group FAIR met police and made a statement officially complaining that allegations against Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness must be investigated.

He said: "It's all down in writing and I said I wanted Mr Scapatticci interviewed on the claims he made because if they were in any way true, Mr McGuinness should be arrested and questioned and if possible charged.

"But what happens now Mr Scappaticci has gone? I would say there is enough there on the tapes alone for Mr McGuinness to be brought in and questioned."

Mr McGuinness has always denied the claims which include the allegation he had a role in luring another IRA informer Frank Hegarty to his death in 1986.

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