Northern Ireland

Stakeknife: External police force should investigate murders by army agent in IRA, says Gerry Kelly

Freddie Scappaticci Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption West Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci has denied he was an army agent

A police force from outside Northern Ireland should investigate claims that the most senior army agent in the IRA was involved in multiple murders, Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly has said.

Northern Ireland's director of public prosecutions has ordered a new inquiry into the agent, known as Stakeknife.

The BBC has named Stakeknife as west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci. He has denied he was an IRA informer.

Mr Kelly said it would be "wise" for another force to handle the inquiry.

Conduct

Barra McGrory QC said the investigation would look at what information Stakeknife gave to the army, MI5 and the Royal Ulster Constabulary's Special Branch.

Image caption Gerry Kelly said the "wise thing to do" would be for the PSNI to ask an external police force to conduct the investigation

Those who received that information would also be investigated, he added.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has yet to say who will carry out the investigation.

Mr Kelly, Sinn Féin's policing spokesman, told BBC One NI's The View programme the PSNI's Chief Constable George Hamilton should ask another force to conduct the inquiry.

Independent

"If you want a satisfaction, if you want people to be able to say: 'I accept that was an objective investigation', then I think the wise thing to do is to hand it over to another policing organisation," he said.

"People have been waiting a very long time for truth.

"Whether it's uncomfortable or uncomfortable, the truth should come out."

A number of families of people allegedly killed by Stakeknife have called for an independent international police force to lead the probe.

Meanwhile, a secret agent who infiltrated the IRA for the British security services has said he does not believe Freddie Scappaticci will ever appear in court over his alleged activities.

Raymond Gilmour, who is originally from Londonderry, said he believed elements within the security services would ensure the case against Stakeknife disappeared.

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