Belfast Telegraph

Sir John to tell more of inquiry into Stakeknife

By Chris Thornton
01 February 2005

Retired Met chief Sir John Stevens turned back to his Ulster collusion investigation today - revealing that he is close to announcing new details of his Stakeknife probe.

Sir John, who was elevated to the House of Lords yesterday as he spent his last day as Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told the Belfast Telegraph he is preparing to disclose which murders are being linked to the Army agent at the heart of the IRA.

Retirement from the Met after five years as Britain's most senior police officer means Sir John can devote more time to the collusion investigation and his inquiry into Princess Diana's death. He is also preparing material for the forthcoming inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, the investigation that led him to Stakeknife.

"I am spending more time on it," he said. "Essentially I had kept a watching brief because the Met has been the main job, to say the least. Now I can get more involved in the direction of the inquiry."

The agent known as Stakeknife is alleged to have carried out murders in order to maintain his cover as a senior IRA member. A Belfast republican, Freddie Scappaticci, has denied being the Army agent.

Sir John first began investigating links between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries in 1989. He conducted a further probe in the early 1990s that led to the conviction of Army spy Brian Nelson.

He was called back in 1999 to launch Stevens 3, the inquiry re-investigating the Finucane murder. Last year they secured the conviction of Ken Barrett, one of two UDA gunmen who murdered the solicitor in 1989.

He said he will be bringing the squads investigating Stakeknife and the death of Diana "together under one roof" in the Greater London area.

The 62-year-old policeman said the direction of the Stakeknife inquiry will be clear in a few weeks.

"Right now we're assessing where we are with the allegations concerning Stakeknife, specifically what we will continue with and what might be handed back to the PSNI," he said.

"In the next month or two we will be looking at which murders we will be investigating and his activities. We will have a good look at the allegations we will investigate and which ones we can ask the PSNI to carry on with.

"I'm loathe to put a time frame on an investigation of this kind because, when I first came to Northern Ireland 16 years ago, I thought I'd be there six weeks," he said.

Sir John said he is also preparing to hand over a lot of material evidence to the Finucane inquiry.

As well as continuing to conduct the high profile investigations, he will sit in the Lords as a crossbencher.

He said he was "grateful to the Queen and Prime Minister for conferring this great honour on me.

"While I am the recipient," he said, "I believe this reflects on the support of my family, friends and all those in the Met police and other forces with whom I had the pleasure of working over the last 43 years."

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