9 August 2007 Edition

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Special Branch allowed loyalist killers free reign

Special Branch officers gave their agents free reign to murder a former RUC officer, Laurence Templeton told the media last week. Templeton, who had spent 30 years as an officer including three within Special Branch, said he felt compelled to speak out to help relatives of collusion victims.
According to Templeton high-level agents were known as protected species and their handlers sat on intelligence about certain murders. Templeton believes Special Branch officers protected their agents’ reputations as a means of furthering their own career prospects within the RUC.
“I was fully aware of a mass of intelligence on a wide range of individuals but couldn't understand why this information was never acted upon”, said Templeton.
“There were officers who were only concerned about which agent was perceived as the best. Their careers were more important to them then arresting people for murder. Promotion was paramount, he said.
Templeton believes fellow officers in the RUC were amongst those sacrificed to protect Special Branch spies.
“I firmly believe policemen were allowed to die to protect certain informants. The public are not shocked at terrorists killing people but they should be appalled when the state colludes with those very same people. I would like to know why certain murders were not selected for investigation and who made these decisions. I personally knew one senior officer who knew he wouldn't get a result over the McCord murder because Haddock was untouchable, said Templeton.
The former RUC officer said senior officers in the CID and Special Branch became little more than nodding dogs under the control of MI5.
Templeton said the Ombudsman’s investigation into the McCord killing could have gone further.
“I was appalled by the number of high ranking officers who refused to assist O’Loan. I can’t understand how certain people are still in denial about what went on. I realise it may be difficult to come forward but it’s never too late, he said.
Raymond McCord, who brought the case of his son’s murder to the Ombudsman, praised Laurence Templeton for breaking rank over the issue of collusion. It further vindicated his decision to pursue the Special Branch officers who protected his sons killers, said McCord.

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