Case remains open after alleged spy in IRA dies

time:2023-06-02 15:51:32source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center4

The Public Prosecution Service will continue to consider charges against others in a £37m investigation involving Britain's top spy within the IRA, codenamed Stakeknife.

It has issued a statement following the death of Freddie Scappaticci last week.

The 77-year-old was widely regarded as having been the agent.

"Where the PPS is made aware of the death of a suspect, that is end of any potential prosecution in relation to that individual," it stated.

However other suspects, including former members of the army and MI5, remain "under consideration" for charges.

The PPS statement gave no timeframe to when decisions might be reached, referring to the case as "complex."

Evidence of murders and kidnappings were submitted to it by Operation Kenova, an extensive investigation into Stakeknife's activities by Jon Boutcher, the former head of Bedfordshire Police.

The volume of material runs to more than one million pages.

The PPS has had some of the files since 2019, others from 2022.

"The test for prosecution is only applied to living individuals," said the PPS's assistant director Martin Hardy.

"Where there are other suspects … those suspects remain under consideration."

He went on to state the case is being progressed "as quickly as possible" in the light of "limited resources."

Mr Hardy added: "We recognise this is a long and difficult process for the families and victims who await decisions in these cases.

"We will also continue to keep them updated as we move closer to the time when the decisions can issue."

On Tuesday, Mr Boutcher confirmed Mr Scappaticci's death had taken place last week and his funeral has been held in England.

From the late 1970s until 1990, Mr Scappaticci, although he publicly denied it, worked for army intelligence within the IRA's internal security unit, which was tasked with finding and executing informers.

He fled Northern Ireland a year after the media named him as Stakeknife in 2013.

Mr Boutcher has in part been investigating the complicity of the state in multiple murders - hence why former security force and intelligence personnel are under consideration for serious charges.

The files which have gone to the PPS also cover former paramilitaries.

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