Two arrested over murder of lawyer Pat Finucane

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The Independent Online

Two people have been arrested in connection with the 1989 murder of the human rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

A 40-year-old man and a woman aged 45 were detained in Sussex by members of the team, led by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir John Stevens, investigating alleged collusion between the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries. They were supported by officers from Sussex Police and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The man, who is believed to be Ken Barrett, a leading loyalist, was taken to a police station in Northern Ireland for further questioning. The woman was being questioned at a police station in Sussex.

Mr Barrett was secretly filmed by the BBC Panorama programme as he discussed how collusion between elements in the security forces and loyalist paramilitaries had resulted in the murder of Mr Finucane. A police spokesman confirmed that the arrests were in connection with the murder of Mr Finucane in February 1989 and other matters.

Last month Sir John's team published a report confirming that "rogue elements" within the police and military helped loyalists to murder Catholics. The inquiry, which focused on the murders of Mr Finucane and a Protestant student, Adam Lambert, in 1987, concluded that both murders could have been prevented. Sir John said in his report: "I also believe that the RUC investigation into Pat Finucane's murder should have resulted in the early arrest and detection of his killers."

The killing of Mr Finucane, a Belfast solicitor, has remained one of the most controversial of the 30-year history of the Troubles. He was gunned down as he sat at home eating Sunday lunch with his family.

His family have campaigned for an independent public inquiry into allegations that he was set up by elements of military intelligence.