4 July 2002 Edition

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Man pressured to become informer attempted suicide

A 22-year-old West Belfast man attempted suicide after RUC/PSNI Special Branch conducted a campaign to pressurise him into becoming an informer. The RUC/PSNI men put John Cartmill under so much pressure that he took an overdose of anti-depressants.

Luckily, his friend discovered him in time and rushed him to hospital where he was resuscitated.

John Cartmill's ordeal began on Friday 21 June as he returned home from holiday in Spain. When he arrived at Belfast City airport he was approached by a number of men who identified themselves as being members of Special Branch, before taking him to a holding room where they questioned him.

Initially the RUC/PSNI members questioned Cartmill about cigarettes that he had in his suitcase and tried to get him to admit that he was smuggling the cigarettes for "an illegal organisation".

They also asked him if he had any connections with Sinn Féin or the IRA and if he knew anyone in the IRA. During this questioning the Branchmen told him that if "you talk you can walk". The young man refused and eventually was released.

After he was released, the Special Branch began calling John at his home.

Returning to the airport to collect a bag that had been lost at Gatwick, he was again approached and when he refused to cooperate was arrested on a trumped up charge.

On his release this second time the RUC/PSNI intensified their telephone campaign to the point where he tried to take his own life last Saturday, 29 June.

Speaking at a press conference, John said he had never gone through anything as bad as the pressure the RUC/PSNI Special Branch put him through and that he wanted to go public to expose their actions and to encourage anyone else in the same position to come forward. He also revealed that the Special Branch had phoned him as recently as Tuesday 2 July.

Sinn Féin's Michael Ferguson said "the circumstances surrounding the RUC/PSNI's attempts to recruit John Cartmill demonstrate the lengths to which they will go to compromise members of our community. It is clear that nothing has changed as far as the modus operandi of the PSNI is concerned. They are just the RUC by a different name."


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