Northern Ireland news

Stakeknife probe: Top English officer 'to lead investigation'

Alleged army agent Freddie Scappaticci. Picture from Press Association

THE chief constable of an English police force is expected to lead an investigation into Stakeknife - the highest ranking British agent within the IRA.

Freddie Scappaticci is the west Belfast man named as being the military agent codenamed Stakeknife.

UTV reported last night that Jon Boutcher, Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police, is to head the inquiry into the spy's activities.

Mr Boutcher has been a police officer for more than three decades, primarily as a detective. He has worked for Scotland Yard's anti-terrorism branch and led an investigation into war crimes committed in Afghanistan.

The remit of the Stakeknife investigation is to be announced next month.

The probe will look at the agent's alleged role in dozens of killings and consider what was known by RUC Special Branch and MI5.

In a statement, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "PSNI is at an advanced stage of progressing the referral from the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate a range of activities surrounding an individual codenamed Stakeknife and an announcement will be made in early June".

Scappaticci left Northern Ireland in 2003 when he was named in the media as being Stakeknife, a claim he vehemently denied before quitting his Belfast home.

In October last year Director of Public Prosecutions Barra McGrory called for police to examine Stakeknife's activities and the actions of security services controlling him.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news