19/12/2001

Leading loyalist in Finucane case disappears

A leading loyalist from Belfast who was being questioned by the Stevens team investigating the murder of Pat Finucane has reportedly gone missing from his home.

Ken Barrett allegedly disappeared at the weekend but news only emerged on Tuesday December 18 of his disappearance.

There are also reports that he had not sought protection from the police despite believing that his life is in danger.

Ken Barrett is thought to have intimate knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the murder of Pat Finucane, which could profoundly compromise Special Branch.

Earlier this year a retired RUC CID detective, Jonty Brown, told the UTV Insight programme that a leading loyalist had described in intimate detail the shooting of Pat Finucane. An RUC Special Branch officer was present when these admissions were made but Special Branch withheld the audiotape of the admissions from the Stevens team.

This latest news follows the recent murder of RUC Special Branch agent and former UDA member William Stobie who lived close to Barrett in the Forthriver area of north Belfast.

The Pat Finucane Centre which is working on behalf of the family said: “If the reports prove accurate that Barrett has disappeared and is not under police protection, this will feed speculation that some loyalists believe that Special Branch is working hand in hand with the present UDA leadership to assassinate former double agents who may have incriminating evidence regarding the murder of Pat Finucane and other murders involving collusion.” (AMcE)

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