Times Online

An evil appetite for murder

By David Lister
September 14, 2004

ON JANUARY 25, 1988, a Roman Catholic building contractor was shot six times in the head and neck when two masked gunmen burst into his office in Dundrum, Co Down.

The victim was Jack Kielty, 44, the father of Patrick Kielty, a blond-haired teenager who since has become a popular television presenter.

According to police intelligence, the killers, sent from Belfast for the job, included an eager young murderer named Kenneth Barrett.

By the time that he took part in the operation to kill Patrick Finucane in 1989, Barrett had already distinguished himself by his sheer appetite for murder.

“He was the most sinister man I ever met,” former Detective Sergeant Johnston Brown, who has pursued Barrett for 13 years over the Finucane murder, said. “When you spoke to him, you knew you were in the presence of evil.”

Security officials and paramilitaries disagree over whether Barrett was the driver of the Finucane murder team or one of two “shooters” who fired 14 bullets at the solicitor. What none doubt, however, is that by 1989 he was the Ulster Defence Association’s executioner par excellence and a leading member of the terrorist group’s “B Company” on the Protestant Shankill Road.

Born in Belfast in 1962, Barrett grew up in the loyalist Woodvale area and attended Somerdale Secondary School, where his contemporaries included Johnny Adair, the future terrorist godfather.

When asked by the BBC’s Panorama how many people he had killed, Barrett held up ten fingers. Other murders he has been linked to include the killings of Terry McDaid, a 29-year-old Catholic, in Belfast in 1988, and Gerard Slane, 27, gunned down by the UDA in 1990. Yesterday he pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of Thomas McCreery, a Belfast drug- dealer, in 1991.

In 1990 Barrett was made the UDA’s West Belfast “military commander”. Within a year, his colleagues had stood him down, accusing him of stealing to fund his gambling. In an act of revenge, he signed up as a police informer.

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