Finucane conspirator Mark Barr found dead
Finucane conspirator Mark Barr found dead

UDA paramilitay Mark Barr, who was once charged with the killing of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane, has been found dead in mysterious circumstances.

Barr was found hanging at a football playing field in Belfast on Wednesday morning.

The 36 year-old is understood to have been a leading figure in the Shankill Road UDA C Company, which colluded with British forces through double-agent Brian Nelson.

It was reported today that members of the PSNI’s Historical Enquiries Team have applied for a court order for permission to take fingerprints from Barr’s corpse. It has not yet been explained why Barr’s fingerprints are not on record in his police file.

After intensive campaigning by nationalists, Barr became the second man charged over the brutal 1989 slaying of Mr Finucane. Finucane was gunned down in his home in Belfast as his wife and three children watched. Numerous non-governmental human rights organisations and official reports have connected British Crown forces to his murder.

Barr was convicted in 2001 only of having documents likely to be “of use to terrorists”, including British Army and RUC/PSNI police intelligence reports. He was released with a suspended jail sentence.

No-one has ever been convicted in relation to the Finucane killing or the other murders directed by British agent Brian Nelson, including the brutal slaying of innocent Catholic pensioner Francisco Notorantonio.

Barr is one of several UDA paramilitaries involved in ‘C Company’ collusion with British forces to die in unexplained circumstances in recent years.

The US House of Representatives last week approved a resolution introduced by New Jersey Republican Chris Smith that calls on the British government to go ahead with a full independent public judicial investigation into the Finucane killing.

Smith’s resolution passed the Congress by a vote of 364-34, with 25 members abstaining.

“This resolution calls on the British government to live up to its commitment -- as part of the Northern Ireland peace process -- to implement a public, independent, judicial inquiry into the murder of courageous human rights attorney and activist, Patrick Finucane,” said Smith. “The questions of police collusion surrounding his murder need to be answered. The British government must comply with their own pledge to investigate the Finucane murder in order to build on the recent progress we have seen with the peace process.”

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