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19 July 2001 Edition

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RUC complicity in Finucane killing

BY LAURA FRIEL

RUC Special Branch were informed of killings about to take place, FRU leader Gordon Kerr is to reveal to the Stevens' probe into the killing of Belfast defence lawyer Pat Finucane.

The British Brigadier and current military attaché to Beijing is to be questioned next month and it is rumoured that he intends to point the finger of blame at the RUC Special Branch.

The Stevens team believe they have sufficient evidence to establish that Kerr previously lied to detectives investigating Crown force collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

Kerr appeared as Colonel `J' at the trial of Brian Nelson in 1992. Nelson was an agent for the FRU, one of the most covert units in the British army. As their agent Nelson update, reorganised and provided information on nationalists and republicans being targeted by loyalist death squads.

Now facing charges of perjury, Kerr is set to spill the beans on the role of the RUC in connection with the Finucane shooting. Pat Finucane was shot dead in front of his wife and children by loyalist gunmen who burst into his North Belfast home in 1989.

It has already been established that the weapons used for the killing were supplied and later disposed of by an RUC Special Branch informer William Stobie.

The RUC Special Branch have admitted that they were informed by Stobie that a murder was about to take place and the names of the loyalist gang to carry out the hit.

Even though a simple roadblock would have prevented the killing the RUC did nothing and later claimed this was because Stobie was unable to identify the intended target.

FRU agent Brian Nelson supplied a photograph and Pat Finucane's personal details to the UDA gang planning the killing. What has yet to be established is whether the RUC were also privy to information available to the FRU.

Kerr is set to dispute the RUC claim that they were not told about several of 15 killings in which that FRU have been implicated so far.
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