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Inquiry on Ulster collusion reopens

A fresh inquiry has been ordered into allegations of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries in Northern Ireland and members of the security forces.

John Stevens, Chief Constable of Northumbria police, has been asked to look at new information surrounding some of the avenues covered by an earlier inquiry that he headed. The inquiry uncovered links but declared these 'neither widespread nor institutionalised'.

However, since the results of the first inquiry were revealed three years ago, new accusations have emerged which Alasdair Fraser, Northern Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions, asked Sir Hugh Annesley, Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, to investigate.

Mr Stevens re-formed a small team of detectives and they began work shortly afterwards. It is believed that the focus of the inquiry relates to the handling by army intelligence of Brian Nelson, a key member of the Ulster Defence Association, who was jailed for 10 years on charges including conspiracy to murder and possession of weapons. Since his conviction he is said to have made a number of statements to his solicitor which have given rise to new allegations.

The original inquiry led by Mr Stevens, who was then Deputy Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire, was carried out over eight months in 1989 after loyalist paramilitaries claimed they had used security forces intelligence documents to target a Catholic for assassination.