Irish Republican News · July 5, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Ombudsman finds no collusion in Stobie death

The Police Ombudsman in the North, Nuala O’Loan, has said she believes the PSNI police did all they could to protect a British double-agent before he was shot dead.

Billy Stobie was shot dead in Belfast shortly after he was acquitted of charges relating to the controversial murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane.

Stobie was alleged to have worked with British forces as part of a unionist paramilitary unit which carried out the 1989 murder.

The former UDA “quartermaster” was the only man to be tried in connection with the killing.

Almost all of those involved in the Finucane case have since died in violent or unverifiable circumstances.

The death of Mr Stobie conveniently removed an outstanding source of information on illegal killings involving British forces, leading to suspicion regarding the killing.

However, the Police Ombudsman’s investigation suggests Mr Stobie had ignored death threats.

It claims that Mr Stobie was warned in May 2000 that he should move from the unionist Forthriver estate for his own safety. It is alleged that Mr Stobie did not take heed because he said he had been assured by a senior paramilitary, reported to be former UDA commander Johnny Adair, that he would be safe.

The Police Ombudsman’s team also said that Stobie was warned days before his murder that they had received a phone call that his life was under threat.

The investigation team said they had raised “a number of peripheral issues” about improvements to police procedures. However, they insisted that, had these been in place, none of them would have been able to prevent the attack.

  • Nationalists have expressed anger over the latest postponement of the public inquiries into the murders of Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright.

    British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy had been expected to make a statement in London this afternoon on the setting up of public inquiries into the murders.

    Councillor Martin Morgan of the SDLP said it was an unacceptable delay that would only raise fears in the community.

    The British government says it will publish more details on the inquiries over the next two weeks.

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