24 May 2006

PAID FOR SILENCE - Finucane killer serves three years of 22-year term

Daily Ireland

Barrett’s generous relocation package for silence on state collusion

by Mick Hall

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThe killer of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane has been given a generous relocation package by the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) in return for his silence on the extent of state collusion, one of his would-be victims claimed last night.

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UDA gunman and British agent Ken Barrett was freed by the Sentence Review Commission yesterday after applying for early release under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
It is understood he has been relocated to begin a new life in Britain.
Barrett had served nearly three years in Maghaberry prison after pleading guilty to murdering Mr Finucane, who was shot 14 times in his family home in north Belfast by a gang of UDA gunmen.
An investigation by metropolitan police commissioner, John Stevens, confirmed that several gang members were paid agents of British intelligence agencies, including the notorious Force Research Unit.
Barrett dramatically changed his plea to guilty during the last week of his trial at Belfast Crown Court in September 2004. He was jailed for a minimum of 22 years for a series of offences, including murder and attempted murder.
Belfast Sinn Féin councillor Alex Maskey was targeted by the UDA triggerman in June 1988 while he was having a meal at an Antrim Road hotel – one year before Mr Finucane’s murder.
Another British agent – Shankill Road intelligence officer Brian Nelson – contacted Barrett and told him of the Sinn Féin man’s location. By the time Barrett arrived at the hotel, Mr Maskey had already left.
In 1992 Nelson pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy to murder and was sentenced to ten years, after being exposed as a British agent by the Steven’s inquiry team in 1990.
Mr Maskey said Nelson – who was also involved in Mr Finucane’s murder – had been released under similar circumstances to Barrett. He told Daily Ireland that Barrett’s release had been a “further act of collusion” and that the British agent had been given a generous relocation package in exchange for his silence on the extent of the state’s nefarious activities.
Mr Maskey said: “Nelson had also changed his plea to guilty in the last stages of his trial and was released during the late 1990s. He was relocated and was given a substantial financial package.
“There is no reason to believe that Barrett hasn’t been given the same treatment.”

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