Stakeknife’s handlers to avoid prosecution
Stakeknife’s handlers to avoid prosecution


The police investigation into the operation of British military agent ‘Stakeknife’ looks set to be a whitewash after it was announced that two British Army handlers of the spy will not face prosecution for their role in his killings.

In each of the decisions, it was claimed that there was insufficient evidence to provide a reasonable prospect of conviction.

West Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci, who went into hiding in 2003 and reportedly died last year, has been named as the double agent involved. He sought to sabotage the Provisional IRA’s armed campaign by interrogating and killing targets approved by his handlers, including IRA Volunteers, alleged informers and innocent civilians.

‘Operation Kenova’ claims to be investigating the role played by the British Crown forces, including MI5, in a series of his killings. Despite eight years of investigation, it has failed to issue a single report or finding, and may soon be shut down by new British legislation.

Lawyer Kevin Winters of KRW Law said: “The detailed notices issued today by the PPS purport to explain why decisions were taken not to prosecute. We reject the explanations. They fall short on what was expected in terms of detailed analysis and raise more questions than answers.

“These determinations come as no surprise to either ourselves on behalf of our clients or the next of kin and victims themselves,” he said.

“The decisions are depressingly consistent with all previous decision making. We say the decision making here requires much further scrutiny.

“To that end we are pushing ahead with reviews and ultimately potential judicial review litigation. This is not a good day for justice. The pressure on Kenova to deliver has just escalated.”

The brother of a man believed to have been killed by Stakeknife has also voiced doubts over claims the investigation will soon unveil a report. Following another recent postponement, Belfast native Fran Mulhern, whose brother Joseph Mulhern was killed in 1993, said he remains sceptical.

“Yet another delay,” he said. “Why do they need five weeks when they have had it in its current state for several months?

“We will watch this space, but I won’t be surprised if something ‘unexpected’ pops up, which leads to another delay. It’s a case of I will believe it when I see it.”

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