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Last Updated: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 16:25 GMT 17:25 UK
Loyalist admits Finucane murder
Pat Finucane
Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries
A loyalist accused of murdering a Belfast solicitor more than 15 years ago has pleaded guilty to the charge.

Ken Barrett, 41, entered the plea at the beginning of his trial in the Crown Court in Belfast on Monday.

At previous hearings, Barrett denied shooting Catholic solicitor Pat Finucane at his home in the north of the city in February 1989.

Barrett was the first person to be charged with the solicitor's murder.

The killing was one of the most controversial of the 30 years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, mainly because of the allegations of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and members of the security forces.

Ken Barrett also admitted twelve other charges which included the attempted murder of Mrs Finucane, stealing Army-owned weapons and membership of the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

He is expected to be sentenced on Friday.

Mr Finucane was shot dead by the loyalist Ulster Defence Association.

Ken Barratt
Ken Barrett, centre, pictured arriving back into NI for questioning

The murdered solicitor's wife, Geraldine, said her family were "nowhere near closure" following Barrett's plea.

"We knew about Ken Barrett and various other loyalists," Mrs Finucane said.

"We do not know about their superiors, we do not about the policy makers. These are the people that need to be investigated.

"They need to be made accountable and the only way that that can be done is when there is a public inquiry."

Her son, Michael, also challenged the government to honour its agreement over setting up an inquiry.

Mr Finucane said: "They said they would set out the way ahead at the conclusion of all prosecutions.

"The only prosecution has now been held, so when can the public inquiry be held? That's the only question the British Government has to answer."

Commenting on Barrett pleading guilty to the murder, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, who headed in inquiry into the Finucane killing, said it was a "fair and painstaking investigation".

He said he hoped that it would bring some comfort to the Finucane family, "some sense of peace and closure".

A legal challenge over the government's failure to set up a public inquiry into Mr Finucane's murder was adjourned in June.

Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine is challenging the government's decision to delay a public inquiry, which was recommended by retired Canadian judge, Peter Cory.

Mr Cory was appointed by the British and Irish governments in 2001 to examine allegations of collusion surrounding some of the most controversial killings of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

However, the government decided to postpone a decision on establishing an inquiry into Mr Finucane's murder until all criminal proceedings are exhausted.

Sinn Fein has claimed that the British Government is using an investigation into the murder to block any such inquiry.

The BBC's John Ware
"The Finucane family are glad... but frustrated"

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