MURDER squad detectives have launched an investigation into murders carried out by Freddie Scappaticci – the British agent known as Stakenife.
The Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory QC didn’t name ‘Scap’ in a statement a short time ago.
But he has announced that he has requested that the Chief Constable investigate a range of offences which relate to the activities of an individual who is commonly known under the codename ‘Stakeknife’.
Among the murders carried out by Scappaticci when he was working for the British Army whilst also running the IRA’s internals security unit were those of Paddy Flood and Frank Hegarty.
Frank Hegarty, 45, worked for the same British Army unit as Scap. He fled Derry fearing he had been exposed in 1990. He was coaxed back after being given an assurance of his safety. Hegarty was taken to Donegal, where he was tortured and shot dead. A tape of Hegarty’s “confession” was later supplied to a journalist in an attempt to justify the murder.
Paddy Flood, 29, a top Derry IRA man, was abducted, tortured and shot dead in Fermanagh in July 1990. His family claim that Flood was not an informer but a dedicated and highly effective paramilitary. There have been claims he was murdered at the request of the British Army to stop his gun and bomb attacks in the city.
Mr McGrory has requested two new investigations.
A statement from his office said: “The first will seek to examine the full range of offences alleged to have been committed by this individual and will also include an investigation into any criminal activity that may have been carried out by Security Service Agents.”
Outlining his decision to require the Chief Constable to carry out the investigation the Mr McGrory said: “I have been made aware of the scope and range of possible offences that may have been carried out by this individual and also members of Intelligence Agencies.
“This information has been provided to me by the office of the Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, which is now concluding a painstaking review of all available material.
“The Ombudsman has carried out a comprehensive analysis of material emanating from the three investigations carried out by Lord Stevens into allegations of collusion. A common link across a significant number of potential crimes, including murder, was the alleged involvement of an agent of military intelligence codenamed ‘Stakeknife’.
“In addition, the Attorney General of Northern Ireland John Larkin QC, has recently contacted me about a murder case to enquire about any action the Public Prosecution Service may be considering. This is a case in which the same agent is potentially implicated.
“In the light of all of this information, I concluded that I must exercise my power to request that the Chief Constable investigates matters which may involve offences committed against the law of Northern Ireland and did so on August 11, 2015.”
The Director of Public Prosecutions says he has also carried out a review of relevant papers and information within the PPS and has identified one case where he now considers there is sufficient basis to review a prosecutorial decision. This relates to a case involving an allegation of perjury in 2003.
The Director explains: “I have serious concerns in relation to this decision. Having reviewed all of the available evidence I consider that the original decision did not take into account relevant considerations and also took into account irrelevant factors.
“I have concluded that the original decision was not within the range of decisions that could reasonably be taken in the circumstances. This decision has been set aside.
“In accordance with our Code for Prosecutors, I have asked the Chief Constable to provide further materials so that the matter may be reconsidered.
“I have also asked the Chief Constable to investigate a range of further potential criminal offences which may have occurred in connection with legal proceedings in 2003.”
The terms of each investigation have been referred to the Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire so that he can consider if any investigation into the action of police
should take place.
The Director concluded: “Before making this announcement, I have had a number of meetings with the Chief Constable, the Police Ombudsman and the Attorney General and we are agreed in our commitment to ensure that the public should be able to have full confidence in the criminal justice system. We will each play our role independently, openly and with integrity.”
The investigation requests follow two previous requests made by a DPP. Sir Alasdair Fraser QC made a related request on 26 January 2009 with a second made by the current DPP on January 29, 2013. Each of these requests focuses on a small number of identified cases. The respective police investigations are understood to be at an advanced stage.