28 May 2006

British mole in murder inquiry

Sunday Times

Liam Clarke
May 28, 2006

A FORMER British military intelligence agent within the IRA is to be investigated for the murder of Eoin Morley, a republican shot dead by the Provisionals in Newry 16 years ago.

In an autobiography to be published later this month, Kevin Fulton admits being one of two gunmen involved in the shooting. The other was a well-known IRA bomb maker who later joined the Real IRA and moved to Dundalk.

Ailish Morley, the dead man’s mother, and his brother Ivan, have called for Fulton and the second gunman to be charged.

Last year Nuala O’Loan, the Northern Ireland police ombudsman, found there had never been a proper investigation into Morley’s murder, that the police had failed to arrest a suspect, understood to be Fulton, and that high-grade intelligence had not been acted on.

The ombudsman found that, during a meeting with a police handler, the suspect had given the impression he had carried out the murder. His fingerprint was also found on the murder weapon.

In his autobiography, Unsung Hero, Fulton does not say who fired the rifle used in the killing but does admit he was present and had a gun when the fatal shots were fired.

The Morleys are a well-known republican family who lived near Fulton’s home on Newry’s Derrybeg estate, where the murder took place. Eoin’s father, David, was an IRA officer in the Maze prison in the early 1970s after defeating Gerry Adams in an election among IRA inmates. Ivan Morley believes this created resentment towards the family.

Shortly before his death, Eoin Morley had left the IRA and, like Ivan, joined the rival Irish People’s Liberation Organisation. In his book, Fulton says it was against IRA regulations to join another grouping but that the rule was generally ignored.

But a senior IRA figure had a grudge against Morley and ordered that a punishment shooting be carried out with a high-velocity rifle. The weapon used was a Belgian FN Fal which had been re-bored for use against helicopters. Fulton says he warned the IRA that Morley was likely to be killed and says it was clear that was the intention.

Forensic records show that Morley was shot twice in the back outside the front door of his girlfriend’s house.

In his book, Fulton describes a scuffle and his fear that Morley might grab a gun. He also writes that when he told his handlers what had happened they were elated.

“When I told them Morley had been killed, their response was straightforward. ‘Nice one,’ they said. ‘Let’s hope they keep on killing their own’,” he writes.

This meeting took place in England and involved senior police, army and intelligence officers, though this fact is not mentioned in the book.

Fulton yesterday refused to confirm or deny it. “I am making no comment on the Morley killing or who debriefed me,” he said.

Ailish Morley says she met Adams in Belfast and told him of her belief that her son’s killers had been drinking and that informers were involved.

Afterwards, Martin McGuinness held an IRA inquiry in Dundalk’s Muirhevna Mor estate.

Fulton says it lasted only minutes and consisted of asking those present at the murder scene if they had been drinking. After McGuinness left, another senior IRA figure told them not to use high-calibre weapons for punishment shootings again.

A week after Morley’s death a haul of weapons, including the murder weapon, was found near Fulton’s home. “The police told me they were the weapons that had killed my son and that was before any forensic tests were carried out,” Ailish Morley said.

She later made a complaint to O’Loan about the police investigation and was assured last year it would be re-opened. Last week she complained about the lack of progress.

A PSNI spokesman said the murder was being examined by the Historical Enquiries Team.

Unsung Hero will be published by Blake on June 26, €26.45

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