22 February 2006

Loyalist double murderer named as police informer

Times Online

By David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent
February 22, 2006

A LOYALIST responsible for one of Northern Ireland’s most notorious sectarian murders was a police agent working for Special Branch, it was claimed yesterday.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usJohn White, who served two life sentences for the murders in 1973 of Paddy Wilson, a Catholic politician, and his Protestant girlfriend Irene Andrews, became a police informer upon his release in prison in 1991, according to the Belfast Telegraph. The allegation follows a deluge of prominent names from within the republican and loyalist paramilitary camps after the outing as a British agent of Denis Donaldson, a confidant of Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein leader. (BBC Photo: White, left, Shoukri and Adair)

Paranoia is rampant in republican circles over the informer allegations, and police have visited a number of senior figures to warn them that their lives may be in danger.

White, who fled Northern Ireland in February 2003 at the height of a feud within the Ulster Defence Association, was a key figure in the Combined Loyalist Military Command when it announced a ceasefire in October 1994. He also pressed the Ulster Freedom Fighters, the UDA’s military wing, to decommission weapons to pressurise the Provisional IRA to follow suit.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us White was the right-hand man to Johnny Adair, the “C Company” commander on the Shankill Road who also fled after the murder of a rival loyalist chief.

White came to prominence in the early 1990s as a prisoners’ spokesman for the Ulster Democratic Party, the UDA’s political mouthpiece. He was first contact point for most journalists seeking a comment or interview with Adair.

His wealth attracted much attention. He owned a big house in Co Antrim where his hobbies included keeping Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs. White attributed his good fortune to having sold hand-embroidered handkerchiefs from inside prison and having invested the profits on the stock exchange.

He was often accused of being a drug dealer. He once even admitted that he saw no contradiction in being a drug dealer and a British patriot. The Belfast Telegraph said that White’s details as an informer were among files stolen from a police station in East Belfast on St Patrick’s Day in 2002.

White’s credentials during the 1990s meant that he sat in on meetings of the UDA’s six-man leadership. Other loyalists have blamed him for the collapse of the umbrella organisation that achieved the 1994 ceasefire.

He admitted that his role in the murders of Paddy Wilson and Irene Andrews was “barbaric”. Mr Wilson was stabbed 30 times and had his throat slit, and Ms Andrews had her breasts cut off.

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