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Scappaticci questioned three times in last year

Freddie Scappaticci, who has denied being the agent Stakeknife. Picture by Pacemaker Press

FREDDIE Scappaticci, the man alleged to be the agent codenamed Stakeknife, has been questioned by detectives three times in the last year.

The Irish News has learned that the west Belfast man, who fled Northern Ireland in 2003 after being unmasked as the most high-ranking mole within the IRA, has been interviewed in an effort to reveal the extent of his activities while working for military intelligence.

It comes as director of public prosecutions Barra McGrory revealed yesterday he had asked chief constable George Hamilton to investigate not just allegations that Stakeknife was involved in at least 24 murders, but also the actions of security services controlling him.

Mr McGrory said they are "extremely serious matters, perhaps the most significant in my time as DPP".

"I have not taken the steps to commence investigations lightly, but rather consider they must be taken to ensure that public confidence can be maintained in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and in the wider criminal justice system," he said.

There is speculation the number of murders linked to the agent could rise significantly as investigations continue.

Frank Mulhern whose son Joe was murdered by the IRA in 1993, said while he welcomed yesterday's development an "international police force" and not the PSNI should be called in to investigate the allegations.

Freddie Scappaticci has denied being the agent Stakeknife, who was described by former British army General Sir John Wilsey as the 'golden egg' of the intelligence services.

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