Man charged with murder of Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane

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The Independent Online

A man was charged last night with the 1989 murder of the Belfast human rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Ken Barrett, 40, was arrested in Sussex on Wednesday by members of a team led by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens. The team, which is investigating collusion between loyalists and members of the security force, took him to Northern Ireland in a joint operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Mr Barrett will appear at Belfast Magistrates Court this morning charged with the Finucane killing and two counts of attempted murder - that of Thomas McCreery on 17 January, 1991 and Elizabeth McEvoy on 17 January, 1991.

He was also accused of being a member of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and Ulster Freedom Fighters on or before 29 May, 2003, contrary to Section 21 of the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1978. Other charges relate to handling stolen goods including 11 9mm Browning pistols, two 7.62 light machine guns, two signal weapons, one .38 Smith and Wesson revolver, two air rifles and a quantity of ammunition on 25 August, 1987. The Barrett charges are the latest development in a case which has rarely been out of the public eye. Several weeks ago, Sir John published an interim report saying that security forces had colluded in at least two murders, one of them that of Finucane.

He said he believed the killings could have been prevented.

Mr Barrett travelled to England from Belfast after the UDA turned against him, describing him as an informer.

In November 2001, a UDA member called William Stobie, who had been charged with the Finucane murder at the instigation of the Stevens team, was acquitted of the solicitor's killing after the case against him collapsed. Stobie admitted playing a part in the incident but revealed that he had been a Special Branch informer at the time. He was later shot dead by the UDA.