Northern Ireland news

Stakeknife torture victim was 'sacrificial lamb'

Allison Morris
14 November, 2015 01:00

The sisters of a 28-year-old man believed to have been killed by the IRA agent known as Stakeknife have added their voice to calls for an independent investigation into his activities.

Patrick Trainor's family have never spoken publicly about his brutal death in February 1981.

The IRA team who abducted and tortured the west Belfast man initially released their hostage blindfolded, telling him he was free to go, before shooting him in the back of the head.

The family have always believed that Stakeknife was responsible.

Freddie Scappaticci, who fled Belfast in 2003, has strongly denied being the army agent Stakenife but is widely believed to have headed up the IRA's so called 'nutting squad'.

Following Mr Trainor's murder the organisation allowed a family member to listen to a taped 'confession' in which the terrified voice of the father-of-three was heard admitting to being a low-level informer.

However, his family have always believed this was forced from him, given that when his body was identified it was covered in burn marks.

Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory has called for a fresh police investigation into 24 killings linked to Stakeknife, although it is thought the total number could be almost double that.

Chief Constable George Hamilton has yet to announce who will carry out an inquiry.

When asked this week the PSNI said it had no comment to make at this time.

The families of several victims have called for an independent force to examine the case, which will not only centre on the role of the IRA agent but also those within British military intelligence who controlled his activities.

Speaking to the Irish News, Eileen Hughes and Alice Hackett, sisters of Mr Trainor, said they believe he was sacrificed to save people further up the food chain.

The IRA claimed at the time that 33-year-old Peter Valente from Unity Flats in north Belfast, murdered in November 1980 as an alleged informer, had implicated Mr Trainor and two other men before his death.

However, this version of events is disputed.

Mrs Hughes said on the night her brother disappeared he had gone to a republican social club in the lower Falls area of west Belfast and was summonsed to a meeting at a nearby house.

"He was taken away in a black taxi that Friday night. Late on the Sunday night a friend knocked the door and I knew straight away it was about Paddy, he just said 'there's been a body found and it's him'.

"We got told on the Monday that he was shot for being an informer. When everything died down and Paddy was buried another brother went and saw people, he met the IRA in a house in Beechmount and they played a tape for him, it was Paddy's voice.

"I wouldn't go with him - I couldn't have listened.

"My other brother who's dead now too, he went to identify Paddy's body and he said he was covered in burn marks, he'd been tortured by them.

"So he would have said anything - when my brother listened to the tape it was all a lot of nonsense, he just said what he thought they wanted to hear thinking he'd be let go."

Mrs Hughes said the family are now desperate to have their brother's name cleared.

"We know he (Stakeknife) did it and that he used my brother as a scapegoat. Paddy was definitely sacrificed to protect someone higher up.

"I can understand why people would be afraid to come forward, if you'd had asked us a lot of years back to speak out I wouldn't have done it but we've nothing to lose now and as a family we are all together on this."

Mrs Hughes said the manner of her brother's murder has haunted her for over three decades.

"It has stuck with me for years," she said. "They told him they were letting him home and they let him out of the black taxi blindfolded and told him he was okay.

"He was blindfold, he was stumbling alone in the dark and kept groping at the fence and timber and was asking 'am I nearly there' and then he (Stakeknife) put a bullet in the back of his head.

"The way he did that was so cruel, our Paddy must have thought he'd told them what they wanted to know and he was getting home and then he just shot him, what kind of person would do that?"

Judicial review proceedings brought by the family of Belfast woman Caroline Moreland (34) calling for outside investigators to carry out the Stakenife inquiry have been adjourned until early next month.

The Catholic mother-of-three was abducted and murdered by the IRA in July 1994 for being an alleged British informer.

The Trainor family are backing the call for an independent investigation.

The family's legal representative Liam Diver, of KRW Law, said they need an independent examination not just of the actions of Stakeknife but also those who controlled him.

"The families believe there is a lack of independence and the availability of resources within the PSNI to take on this investigation.

"We will be seeking a wide-ranging probe into the full circumstances of both Patrick Trainor and the other victims of the so called 'nutting squad' stretching back to the 1980s."

14 November, 2015 01:00 Northern Ireland news

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