Unionist paramilitaries worked for the police when they planned the murder in 1997 of a north Belfast Protestant, according to a disturbing new report.

Raymond McCord Jnr was beaten to death and his body dumped in a quarry in 1997. His father has defied repeated death threats to speak out against the killers.

The report prepared by human rights group British-Irish Rights Watch will allege that the head of the UVF has been a Special Branch informant for two decades -- and one of his top men was another police agent who took part in almost a dozen murders and attempted murders.

The report will be presented to British secretary of state Peter Hain, the United Nations, the European parliament and Amnesty International.

Raymond McCord Sr said the UVF men who acted as police informers were given “free rein” by their handlers to carry out murders after the 1994 ceasefire.

“I have had meetings with British-Irish Rights Watch and they are very keen to take up my son’s case. The man who gave the order to kill my son is a Special Branch agent and at least one of the men who carried out the killing is an informer.

“They will be named in the report, which, in effect, proves the British government killed my son.”

Mr McCord said the intervention by the London-based group was a major development that would pile pressure on authorities to hold a public inquiry into his son’s murder.

“The British government is going to have to listen to American politicians and the United Nations,” he said.

“They can try and disregard one person like me but not if other countries start asking about the human rights of my son and other victims.”

The report could be the first step on the road towards gaining a full independent judicial inquiry into the murdered man’s death.

British-Irish Rights Watch deputy director Lorna Davidson said the McCord report would be completed before August.

“We want to pressurise different governments into supporting calls for a proper inquiry into Mr McCord’s murder,” she said.

“We want to help his family get justice and the only way they feel this can be reached is through an inquiry.”

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