31 May 2006

Loyalist killer taken to England within hours

Daily Ireland

By Connla Young

The convicted loyalist killer Ken Barrett was spirited out of the North within hours of his release from Maghaberry Prison, Daily Ireland has learned.
The only man convicted of the murder of Pat Finucane was taken directly from the prison to George Best Belfast City Airport after his release on Tuesday last week.
Earlier that day, the Sentence Review Commission gave the go-ahead for the former Ulster Defence Association hitman to be set free after serving less than two years for the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.
The ex-UDA killer was convicted of the murder of Pat Finucane in 2004 and sentenced to life behind bars with a minimum of 22 years to be served.
During his time in Maghaberry, the former loyalist was held in solitary confinement because of fears for his safety.
The killer, who was also an RUC Special Branch agent, is suspected of involvement in the murder of dozens of Catholics.
Informed sources told Daily Ireland last night that, when asked where he wanted to go on his release, Mr Barrett requested he be taken to England.
It is understood that he was still in custody in the North when news broke that he had been granted early release.
After being held at the PSNI’s holding facility at Belfast City Airport for several hours, he was placed on the first flight to London’s Gatwick Airport.
He sat next to dozens of unsuspecting passengers during the 90-minute flight.
It is understood that, in London, he was met by British police, who escorted him from the airport.
Mr Barrett’s current whereabouts are unknown.
He is not the first convicted loyalist to receive the red-carpet treatment on release from jail.
In January 2005, former Shankill Road UDA boss Johnny Adair was taken directly from Maghaberry to RAF Aldergrove before being flown out of the North by helicopter.

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