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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 April, 2003, 17:48 GMT 18:48 UK
Stevens Inquiry: Key people
The Stevens Inquiry into the killing of Pat Finucane has taken four years and taken statments from some 5,000 people. Click on the names below to find out more about some of the key people and stories connected to the inquiry.


Sir John Stevens
Head of the Stevens Inquiry

Sir John Stevens, now chief constable of the Metropolitan Police, has conducted three inquiries into collaboration between members of the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries.

He arrived in Northern Ireland months after the killing of Pat Finucane.

His three inquiries have revealed that members of both the army and then Royal Ulster Constabulary not only passed security information on republican suspects to loyalist killers, but on occasion a number of individuals actually encouraged the same gunmen to kill.

Sir John, whose inquiries are not supported by the Finucane family and others, says his team were obstructed by other members of the security forces.

Sir John has an international reputation as a leading moderniser of police forces after he overhauled Northumbria Police and went on to lead internal reform in the Met following the Macpherson report into the killing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

One of his most trusted lieutenants, Hugh Orde, became chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland in 2002.


Pat Finucane
Belfast solicitor

Patrick Finucane was killed in 1989 by loyalist gunmen who accused him of being a senior IRA commander responsible for running the republican paramilitaries in the background.

In fact, he was simply a criminal solicitor with a reputation for winning cases.

Like many of his professional colleagues in Belfast at the time, a huge amount of his work involved representing those facing terrorism charges, including senior members of the IRA.

The Stevens team has uncovered evidence that Mr Finucane was targeted after a loyalist leader was encouraged to arrange the solicitor's killing.

Army double-agent Brian Nelson, who died in April 2003, supplied the gunmen with the intelligence needed to identify Mr Finucane.

In his evidence to the Stevens team he said he warned his army handlers that Mr Finucane was a target but they did nothing.


Adam Lambert
Belfast Student, killed 1987

Brian Adam Lambert, a 19-year-old student, was shot dead by loyalist gunmen in November 1987, the day after an IRA bomb killed 11 people at the Enniskillen Remberance Sunday commemorations.

Mr Lambert, a Protestant, was studying building services at the University of Ulster and was arriving for a work placement at a building site when the gunmen struck.

At a subsequent court hearing, it emerged the shooting was a revenge attack for the Enniskillen bombing and the gunmen thought Mr Lambert was a Catholic whose name was Gerry.

Mr Lambert's death came under re-investigation by the Stevens team after loyalist quartermaster William Stobie told journalist Neil Mulholland that he had supplied the guns for the killing.

Stobie, a key figure in the Stevens investigations, became a police informer after being arrested in relation to Mr Lambert's killing.

At the time of the murder, Mr Lambert's former headmaster said his former pupil had been "an absolutely first-rate young man, a school prefect, a marvellous sportsman and possessed of great academic ability."


Brian Nelson
British double agent

A former loyalist paramilitary, Brian Nelson returned to Belfast to rejoin the Ulster Defence Association after being recruited by a team from the army's secret Northern Ireland intelligence unit, the Force Research Unit.

FRU commanders say their plan was to stop the UDA killing ordinary Catholics by making its targeting "more professional". Nelson handed to the Army the UDA's entire target files.

Officers then reorganised it to focus entirely on known or suspected republicans before handing it back.

The Stevens team came to believe that far from saving lives, the recruitment of Nelson led to deaths because of the collaboration he was given in how to target.

He attempted to flee Northern Ireland shortly after the start of the Stevens investigations but was eventually arrested. He was jailed for 10 years on conspiracy to murder in 1992.

Released in 1999, he lived at a secret location in England and died in April 2003 of a brain haemorrhage.


Ken Barrett
Former senior UDA man

Ken Barrett, a self-confessed loyalist killer, is a prime suspect for the killing of Pat Finucane.

In 2002, the BBC's Panorama programme broadcast secretly-recorded interviews with Barrett where he described in detail meetings he had with his paramilitary commander and a senior RUC officer where he was instructed to kill Mr Finucane.

Barrett became a police informer after being recruited by former Royal Ulster Constabulary detective Johnston Brown. Mr Brown, who has since left the force, was the first to hear from Barrett himself that he had "hypothetically" pulled the trigger.

Barrett fled Northern Ireland after another police informer, William Stobie, was shot dead by his former paramilitary colleagues.

During his interviews with the BBC's John Ware, he was asked how many men he had killed as a loyalist gunman. Barrett held up both hands showing all fingers and thumbs.

Explaining the relationship between intelligence gatherers such as Nelson and the gunmen, Barrett said: "They're not passing us documentation [on individuals] to sit in the house and read it. They're passing us documentation because they know what is going to happen afterwards."

Johnston Brown said Barrett was "the most frightening individual" that he had ever met.

"Ken Barrett was known to be a well placed high ranking member of the UDA in North Belfast, a dangerous individual.

"We suspected he was a killer and there is a common denominator, you look into these men's eyes. I had no doubt he was a killer."


The Force Research Unit
British army unit

During the height of the conflict in Northern Ireland, a number of different and not entirely co-operative security forces ran agents as they tried to infiltrate the IRA and other paramilitary organisations.

The most secret of these outside of MI5 was the army's Force Research Unit.

Commanded by Colonel Gordon Kerr in the late 1980s, the FRU was a team of army officers tasked to recruit and train double-agents working for them within the paramilitary organisations.

In the case of the Ulster Defence Association, the FRU saw its role as making its targeting "more professional" by targeting just suspected republicans. Brian Nelson was recruited to do this.

In theory, the FRU was meant to pass on any threats to life that it received from its agents. In the case of Brian Nelson, it said it alerted the police on 730 occasions to threats against 213 individuals.

The Stevens Inquiry disputes this. It came to believe that the line had been crossed. Officers within the FRU used loyalist gunmen as proxies though the intelligence information supplied to Brian Nelson.


Brigadier Gordon Kerr
British Army officer

A colonel in the 1980s, Gordon Kerr was the commanding officer of the Force Research Unit.

It was his plan to recruit, train, infiltrate and run Brian Nelson as an army double agent. In February 2003, Sir John said papers he was sending to the Director of Public Prosecutions related to Brigadier Kerr.

At the 1992 trial of Brian Nelson, Brigadier Kerr said: "There were several occasions when targets or assassination were brought to our notice by Brian Nelson.

"You wish me to quote statistics, in a period from 1985 to 1990 or up until his arrest, we produced, on Brian Nelson's information something like 730 reports concerning threats to 217 separate individuals to life. Threats to life of the individual on all cases. These were passed on."

The Stevens team rejects this, though it does believe that the officer passed on information from Nelson that prevented the assassination of Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.

Brigadier Kerr reportedly resisted the Stevens Inquiry, believing it to be politically motivated. He has denied allegations that Brian Nelson told his unit that Mr Finucane was to be killed. Officers on the Stevens team say this is simply not believable.

Brigadier Kerr is currently based in the British Embassy in Beijing where he is the UK's military attaché to China. In 2002 he refused to be interviewed by the BBC's Panorama programme saying that he could not comment while the Stevens inquiries were continuing.


William Stobie
UDA man-turned-informer

William Stobie is the only person to have been charged in connection with the murder of Mr Finucane.

A former Ulster Defence Association quartermaster, he had turned police informer before the killing of Pat Finucane.

His role in the Finucane killing was revealed when he was interviewed by former journalist Neil Mulholland.

Stobie told Mr Mulholland that he had been asked by a loyalist leader to supply guns for the murder of Mr Finucane. Stobie says he warned his RUC Special Branch handler but nothing was done.

His eventual trial in November 2001 collapsed when Mr Mulholland refused to give evidence on health grounds. Within weeks, he had been shot dead by his own former paramilitary colleagues.

In secret interviews with the BBC's Panorama following the death, Ken Barrett told John Ware that Stobie had been killed to protect both his loyalist commander and the senior policeman who had effectively ordered Mr Finucane killed.


Johnston Brown
Detective Sergeant, Royal Ulster Constabulary 1972 - 2000

Det Sgt Brown was one of the officers assigned to investigate the murder of Pat Finucane.

He was the first ordinary officer from outside of the RUC's Special Branch to meet loyalist paramilitary Ken Barrett who offered his services as an informer in October 1991.

In interviews with the Stevens inquiry and subsequently the BBC, Mr Brown says that Barrett told him he had "hypothetically" killed Mr Finucane.

"I remember turning round in the car and looking at him, and he was sitting with his hands and his eyes blazing and ... he put his hands down into the foot well of the car and he was holding an imaginary gun, and you could where he was discharging the gun into Mr Finucane's head. He was reliving it.

"And when he sat back in the chair he said 'Nothing I say is evidence here.' He's right."

Mr Brown kept meeting Barrett but was told by his superiors the meetings had to stop. In his interview with the BBC, Mr Brown said he believed that had he continued with the meetings, he would have been in personal danger from officers within Special Branch.


Hugh Orde
Chief Constable, PSNI

The chief detective for much of the third Stevens inquiry, Hugh Orde was Sir John's right-hand-man until leaving the team to become Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Next to Sir John, he remains the man most intimately acquainted with all the thousands of pages of the confidential elements of the inquiry.

His appointment as chief constable has been seen as a clear break with the past and he has been charged with completing the reforms of Northern Ireland's policing which is a key element of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Orde, formally of the Metropolitan Police in London, has so far been better received by nationalist politicians than some of his predecessors. He has the support of the nationalist SDLP which has joined the cross-party Policing Board which ultimately controls the force. But at the publication of the Stevens Inquiry, republicans were still refusing to support the reformed police force.


Douglas Hogg MP
Home Office minister, 1989

Douglas Hogg is named in the Stevens report as the minister who found himself "compromised" after a briefing from the RUC shortly before Pat Finucane's killing.

Douglas Hogg MP
In the report, Sir John details how senior RUC officers briefed Mr Hogg that some solicitors were "unduly sympathetic" to the IRA.

On 17 January 1989, Mr Hogg repeated the comments in the House of Commons, sparking uproar and complaints from nationalists.

When Mr Finucane was shot dead a month later, Mr Hogg issued a statement saying: "This is clearly, like so many others a tragic and wicked killing.

"As to its cause, that must be a matter for the RUC."





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