09 April 2006

Spooked Scap flees Tenerife bolthole

Sunday Life

Stool pigeon quits Canaries

09 April 2006

BRITISH agent Freddie Scappaticci has fled his secret bolthole - a rented villa in the Spanish holiday island of Tenerife.

Sunday Life can reveal that the agent known as Stakeknife had been staying in the Canaries.

But he quit his life in the sun after being spotted on two separate occasions by holidaymakers from Belfast.

In one incident, a couple from west Belfast say Scappaticci (61) bolted from Lineker's Bar in the popular resort of Playa de las Americas.

In another - just a week later - Scappaticci "almost choked on his dinner" when he was spotted by a family from his native Markets area. He had been having a meal with his wife in a local restaurant and left within seconds of seeing them.

In the incident in Lineker's - part of holiday resort-bar chain run by the brother of Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker - the eyewitness told us: "You couldn't miss him.

"He hadn't really changed, except he was clean-shaven and a bit greyer and very tanned. He must have been there for weeks.

"He was sitting down and having dinner with his wife and we caught each other's eye straightaway.

"He didn't hang around. He left some Euro on the table and he and his wife left straightaway - they hadn't even finished their dinner.

"Scap was eating a steak, and his wife had a chicken dish."

It is the latest in a series of sightings of former Provo 'nutting squad' boss Scappaticci since he was outed as an Army spy inside the IRA in 2003.

Last year, another Belfast couple spotted Scappaticci in a hotel in Gran Canaria, again in the company of his wife. The ex-agent checked out of the hotel the same night,

It has fuelled speculation amongst republicans that Scappaticci is staying regularly in the Canary Islands.

There have also been sightings in Manchester - where he has relatives and where he was once a teenage prodigy for Manchester City - and in his father's native village of Cassino in Italy, where he still has dozens of relatives.

A receptionist at Cassino's Hotel La Pace - ironically Italian for 'Peace Hotel' - said yesterday: "Mr Scappaticci hasn't been here since last summer."

Asked if he was expected to return, the receptionist added: "We do have a booking for this summer, but it is a different Senor Scappaticci."

Scappaticci has been linked to up to 40 murders during the Troubles, sparking claims that rogue Army handlers allowed murders to take place and that many of his victims were not informers.

One former agent handler told Sunday Life: "The world is a small place these days and, no matter where Scap goes, he will always bump into people from back home.

"He will always look over his shoulder."

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