Detective talks ahead of Finucane report

Published Tuesday, 11 December 2012
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As the de Silva report into the murder of lawyer Pat Finucane is due to be published, the senior detective in the case tells UTV Live Tonight he believed state collusion played a part in one of the most controversial killings of the Troubles.

Detective talks ahead of Finucane report
Pat Finucane was murdered at his Belfast home by Loyalists in 1989. (© Pacemaker)

Mr Finucane was fatally shot by loyalists who used sledgehammers to break down the door to his north Belfast home in February 1989.

On Wednesday, his family, who have long campaigned for an independent public inquiry, will be in London to receive the 500-page inquiry report into his death.

Sir Desmond de Silva QC was commissioned by the Government last year to undertake a legal review of the case, amid long-running allegations that the state colluded to facilitate the Belfast lawyer's murder.

The police officer in charge of the investigation 23 years ago told UTV he came to the conclusion there was state collusion in the attack.

Retired Det Supt Alan Simpson spoke to UTV's Chris Moore on the eve of the publication of the report.

He was one of the most respected detectives in the RUC and remembers arriving at the murder scene on 12 February 1989.

"I recall vividly the night of the murder," he said.

"I was at home and the phone rang and expected it was a call out. I was shocked to hear that Pat Finucane had been shot dead at his home.

"I went immediately to the scene and supervised all the forensics examinations and so on."

"The family, other than Mrs Finucane, Geraldine, she had been taken to hospital, she had been shot also in the foot, but the family had secreted themselves in the front room and had no contact with us."

At the time, the detective believed the family did not speak because they were anti-RUC, but he discovered they did not want any contact with him or other police staff due to suspected state involvement.

In the months which followed I regret to say I came round to the same conclusion as the Finucane family.

Alan Simpson, former senior RUC detective

He said that at the time he did not believe it could be possible.

"It was beyond my comprehension to think that the State would get involved in such a criminal or morally wrong act such as that."

But it eventually emerged that the British Government colluded with the UFF gunmen who killed Mr Finucane.

It became known that virtually every member of the UFF gang involved in the shooting was a Special Branch informer, including Ken Barrett, who in 2004, pleaded guilty to the murder.

Mr Simpson told UTV that in his 20-year career, he was deceived by Special Branch "many times".

"They were powerful simply because of this organisation, MI5, constantly shadowing them and guiding them in the background."

Mr Finucane's son John said for a long time "very few people believed or wanted to believe collusion was in fact, a fact."

He said: "We have a situation now where the PM accepts there was collusion in the murder of my father."

He said the family have reservations about Wednesday's report.

"We have concerns about the process and we have concerns about the independence of the man himself conducting this review. So I don't hold out much hope that tomorrow will be the final resolution for our family and if it isn't we continue to campaign."

The Finucane family say an inquiry was promised during peace talks at Weston Park - they insist it is the only resolution they can accept.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory, who examined allegations of collusion surrounding the Finucane case and other controversial killings at the request of the British and Irish Governments in 2001, recommended a public inquiry into the death.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
Ben in Belfast wrote (658 days ago):
dont we already know there was british involvement.. werent the british trying to win a war against people who didnt play by the rules either? no-warning bomb attacks and random shootings of British citizens- it was hardly going to make the Thatcher government go easy on them.
Laura in Belfast wrote (658 days ago):
justice and enquiries for the thousands of men women and children murdered by the pan-nationalist front.
Mark in Belfast wrote (658 days ago):
is this the only murder carried out in this part of the UK in the late 80s? anyone would think it was.
mary in Belfast wrote (658 days ago):
move on , thats what we are told to do.
Lee in Belfast wrote (658 days ago):
Sure it doesnt matter what it says.. that family wont be happy , they could be told the date of birth and address of the guy who killed him and they still wont be happy , they seem to forget he protected countless killers and not a word was said about it . its a war..in war things happen , you think his IRA mates done everything by the geneva convention? no...so get over it luv.
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