Northern Ireland

Freddie Scappaticci conviction for watching extreme porn only £40m Operation Kenova prosecution

Freddie Scappaticci
Freddie Scappaticci

The only prosecution to arise from the £40m Operation Kenova investigation into Stakeknife was brought against Freddie Scappaticci for watching extreme pornography.

The British army agent was sentenced to three months in custody, suspended for 12 months, at Westminster Magistrates Court y in 2018 after he admitted two counts of possessing extreme pornography.

The court had heard the charges related to at least 329 images, many involving animals.

In 2003 Scappaticci was named as the British agent known as Stakeknife.



A former commander in the IRA’s Internal Security Unit, he was involved in interrogating suspected informers, of which some were later killed.

The charges against Scappaticci covered a period of several months in 2015 and were brought by officers from Operation Kenova.

It was set up the following year to investigate allegations linked to Stakeknife and the disturbing images were found on a laptop when police searched Scappaticci’s home.

Court papers later revealed that during questioning Scappaticci told police about suffering from depression and claimed that he has tried to kill himself, adding that he viewed extreme pornography when he felt low.

“It just seems to lift me….see when you go down into the depths, because see I tried to commit suicide,” he said.

Scappaticci also tried to play down his use of pornography claiming he was “not doing anyone any real harm”.

“It’s not going out to try and interfere with anyone or anything like that…I’m just trying to get myself sorted out….my depression’s so bad at times,” he claimed.

The agent also told police he was not sexually interested in animals.

He admitting searching the internet, saying that his areas of interest included “cars, the British army, maps, combat, football, politics”.

Scappaticci was told by police that there were no searches found for his preferences and the common theme appeared to be animals and bestiality.

Police found he had carried out several searches on a total of 13 different days between November 2015 and January 2018.

During interview Scappaticci claimed he suffered from “deep depression” for which he had received treatment for 30 years.

He confirmed that he had been separated from his wife, who lived in Ireland, for 15 years but that he had to leave because he would have been murdered.

Scappaticci’s legal team produced medical records revealing that in 2013 he told medical professionals that “his isolation was causing him to socialise less and less and he had been using the internet to view pornographic images”.

They added that there had been “repeated diagnosis of him suffering from a depressive disorder”.

It also emerged that Scappaticci suffered a stroke in 2014 and had a history of heart attacks.

Scappaticci died last year from natural causes, aged 77.

During sentencing a magistrate told Scappaticci “You have not been before the court for fifty years and that’s good character in my book”.

In the Operation Kenova report published on Friday former investigation head Jon Boutcher addressed the comments.

“These remarks frustrated many victims and families who have engaged with Operation Kenova and I can understand why,” he said.