Northern Ireland news

Detective in Stakeknife probe says new MI5 documents found

Secret footage broadcast on 'Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History' of a meeting with a senior English police officer about an investigation into Stakeknife
Brendan Hughes

A DETECTIVE investigating the British Army's IRA agent Stakeknife has been secretly filmed saying his team have unearthed a raft of previously unseen documents held by MI5.

He said the security service records are "very telling" and believes they are "documents the Service have kept that probably they should have got rid of".

The covert recording was revealed last night in the final episode of the BBC documentary series Spotlight on the Troubles: A Secret History.

It shows a meeting last year between the senior English police officer and Ian Hurst, who was in the Force Research Unit – a secret Army unit that ran agents in Northern Ireland.

They were meeting about the police investigation into the activities of Stakeknife, the army's top agent working within the IRA during the Troubles.

Stakeknife is alleged to have been west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci (73), who was arrested for questioning during the three-year probe. He has denied being Stakeknife.

Up to 50 killings were examined by Operation Kenova, which was launched amid concerns the agent was involved in kidnap, torture and murder and that this was preventable.

Files have been referred to prosecutors covering numerous individuals, including those who were in the IRA, army and security services.

In the secret recording, the unidentified senior detective revealed his team have been working full-time inside MI5 continually unearthing "a lot more" new material.

He said they have uncovered records that were not disclosed to Lord Stevens, the former head of Scotland Yard who led three investigations into security force collusion with loyalist paramilitaries.

"We have found documents that Stevens never found which are very telling about the role that our man played in certain things," the detective said.

"What we've been doing for quite a while now is that we have a permanent team basically with the Service with them, going through each individual file."

The detective indicated that MI5 had kept material that other agencies had destroyed.

"I think they are documents the Service have kept that probably they should have got rid of. And that's the tree we keep shaking. A little bit more comes out all the time," he said.

"I would say on average at the moment, every couple of weeks we're finding a new document that we haven't seen before or a document that was given to us originally, or given to the Stevens team should I say, in a redacted form and the fuller version is with some of the secret agencies."

Last night's Spotlight programme also explored the factors that brought the Troubles to a close and the disbandment of the Provisional IRA in 2005.

A programme on the making of the seven-part series is available now on BBC iPlayer and will also be aired tomorrow on BBC One NI at 9pm.

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