Stakeknife: Prosecutions to be recommended next year

A police officer leading the inquiry into the activities of the man alleged to have been the Army’s most senior agent within the IRA is to recommend prosecutions.

It is understood recommendations to prosecute a number of people will take place next year.

A specialist team is investigating allegations of murder and torture by the agent codenamed Stakeknife.

He has been named by the media as Freddie Scappaticci from west Belfast.

The 72-year-old has been linked to dozens of murders while working as a member of the IRA’s internal security unit. He has strenuously denied the allegations.

The team is also examining alleged criminality by current and former police officers, members of the Army and MI5 and former members of the IRA.

It has been revealed that detectives have interviewed 129 people, including an unspecified number of suspects from within the security forces and the IRA.

The investigation, known as Operation Kenova, began in January last year and is being led by Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, from Bedfordshire Police.

“This investigation has been hugely complex and, at times, challenging, but the team has been steadfast in its approach to gathering every possible piece of evidence,” he said in a statement.


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Who is Stakeknife?

Fred Scappaticci is alleged to have been the most high-ranking British agent within the Provisional IRA, who was given the codename ‘Stakeknife’.

He was the grandson of an Italian immigrant who came to Northern Ireland in search of work.

He has admitted, in the past, to being a republican but denies claims that he was an IRA informer.

He is believed to have led the IRA’s internal security unit, known as ‘the nutting squad’, which was responsible for identifying and interrogating suspected informers.

Mr Scappaticci left Northern Ireland when identified by the media as Stakeknife in 2003.


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“It is my intention to submit full files covering the entirety of the Operation Kenova terms of reference into the Director of Public Prosecutions in Northern Ireland during 2019.”

Mr Boutcher also revealed that his team has gathered more than 1,200 documents, taken over 1,000 statements and made 199 requests for new forensic DNA examinations.

“We are going where the evidence takes us, so that has meant speaking to those with links to government, the police, military, intelligence agencies and paramilitary organisations,” he added.

“The vast majority of people we have spoken to have been victims or witnesses however we have also identified various suspects during the course of the investigation.

“We will continue to seek to identify and interview anyone thought to have information about the allegations we are investigating.”

The officer appealed to anyone with information that could help the investigation to contact his team.

Earlier this month Freddie Scappaticci was sentenced to three months in custody suspended for 12 months after admitting possession of extreme pornography.

Vincent Kearney


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