Finucane detective fears revenge

16/09/2004 15:31:07 UTV

A detective who helped catch the killer of Pat Finucane today feared
he could be targeted in a revenge attack.
By:Press Association

Former detective sergeant Johnston Brown said Ken Barrett, jailed for
22 years for murdering the Belfast solicitor, had threatened to kill
him and his police colleague Trevor McIlwrath.

Mr Brown, who was in Belfast Crown Court to see Barrett sentenced,
said: "I have got a life sentence because this man told me and Trevor
McIlwrath that if this ever went wrong for him, that if he ever ended
up in jail, that he would come after us and put two in our face.

"When you look at what happened to Pat Finucane, that`s what he done
to him, put bullets in his face. So I will be looking over my
shoulder for the rest of my life."

Barrett, 41, had confessed to Mr Brown, his police handler, in
October 1991 in the back of a car after falling out with the Ulster
Defence Association.

Barrett was caught after the officers secretly recorded him making a
confession. He declared: "I whacked a few people... People say, `How
do you sleep, Ken?` I say, `I sleep fine`."

But he was not charged after becoming an informer for the
intelligence services.

The covert recording of the conversation disappeared, but Mr Brown
made a statement saying that Barrett told him: "I killed Mr Finucane
so quickly that he still had a fork in his hand as he was lying on
the floor."

Speaking outside Belfast Crown Court, Mr Brown said the conviction
was a good day for the people of Northern Ireland but condemned the
provision of the Good Friday Agreement that allowed for the early
release of paramilitary prisoners.

Barrett himself is expected to be on the streets again within months.

The former detective said: "We shouldn`t take Ken Barrett`s case in
isolation. There are a lot of Ken Barretts out there, a lot of
criminals, murderers, who are allowed to walk free who should never
have been allowed to walk free."

Describing Barrett as a "cold fish", Mr Brown said he was satisfied
he had pulled the trigger to kill Mr Finucane, who was gunned down in
front of his wife and three children at Sunday lunch in February 1989.

Mr McIlwrath, who was also in court to see the conviction,
said: "When he described those events that night in the back of the
car he was reliving the events of killing Pat Finucane."

Mr Brown said: "That`s why the tape isn`t there. That`s why it`s
away. Any one member of the public listening to his account of the
crime would have been satisfied."

He was not surprised that Barrett had expressed no remorse for
killing Mr Finucane.

He said: "You`re looking at a Freddy Kruger here. This guy is never
going to lie down."

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