Northern Ireland news

Freddie Scappaticci arrested by Operation Kenova detectives

Freddie Scappaticci has publicly denied being the IRA agent known as Stakeknife

WEST Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci has been arrested by English detectives investigating the abduction, torture and murder of dozens of people by the IRA dating back to the 1970s.

The 72-year-old fled the city in 2003 after it was alleged he was the informer known as 'Stakeknife', described at one time as the jewel in the crown of British intelligence services.

The bricklayer, who it is claimed headed up the IRA's so-called internal security unit, gave several interviews strongly denying he was a double agent before disappearing.

He has since made brief visits back to Belfast, most recently in April last year when amid a heavy police presence he attended the funeral of his 98-year-old father Daniel.

In May 2016, Bedfordshire Police chief constable Jon Boutcher was appointed to head up Operation Kenova, an investigation into the activities of Stakeknife and those who handled the informer.

The independent team of detectives began investigating after former director of public prosecutions Barra McGrory referred multiple allegations to the PSNI, who decided to call in an external force.

The Kenova team announced yesterday that they had arrested a man on suspicion of a number of offences.

It added that "no further details of the place of arrest or where he is being held will be released due to security reasons".

There were also unconfirmed reports of searches carried out at a property in west Belfast yesterday.

The Kenova officers also revealed they have spoken to more than 40 families and processed more than 500,000 pages of information as part of the investigation, generating 1,500 lines of enquiry.

Frank Mulhern, whose 23-year-old son Joseph was abducted, interrogated and shot by the IRA in 1993, welcomed news of the arrest last night and said he was "happy to let the Kenova team do their work".

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news