Pat Finucane campaigners call for questioning of intelligence chief

John Finucane
John Finucane

Long-standing campaigners for justice for murdered solicitor Pat Finucane have called for a key British Army officer to be questioned.

Brigadier Gordon Kerr was named by the Sunday Herald in Scotland in November 2000 as commander of the Force Research Unit (FRU), which had responsibility for high-level paramilitary informers.

Following reports that alleged FRU double-agent “Stakeknife”, first named as Freddie Scappaticci by the Sunday Herald in May 2003, was arrested and questioned by police in Bedfordshire last week, campaigners have called for Mr Kerr to be questioned too.

Pat Finucane’s son, solicitor John Finucane of Finucane Toner Solicitors, told the Sunday Herald: “Given the unit Kerr ran has led to the deaths of so many people we have always found it strange that there hasn’t been any scrutiny of what Kerr was doing. Gordon Kerr is very much at the centre of the actions of the FRU … Kerr’s role in all of this needs to be examined. We may not necessarily get justice, but we want the truth. Those who were in charge tend to be protected.”

Mr Finucane added: “I don’t have confidence in a process that doesn’t directly involve the families. A police investigation will only gather evidence and submit that to the prosecution. It is a fundamentally flawed process from the outset. I wouldn’t be optimistic that Kerr will be questioned or prosecuted.

“Allegations of collusion deserve a process where those directly affected have the ability to examine documentation and ask questions, and for people like Kerr to be represented too, because they may well say they were directed under orders by the minister responsible at the time.”

Paul O’Connor, director of the Pat Finucane Centre, added: “In respect of Kerr, we would be of the view that he and others in the chain of command, both within FRU and the wider security community, have questions to answer regarding their handling of agents such as Brian Nelson and the murder of Pat Finucane and others.”