Former police informer admits solicitor's murder

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The Independent Online

A former police special branch informer today admitted the murder of prominent Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

A former police special branch informer today admitted the murder of prominent Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Ken Barrett, 41, looked tense as he pleaded guilty in the dock at Belfast Crown Court. He is expected to be sentenced on Friday.

Barrett was one of two gunmen who broke into Mr Finucane's north Belfast home in February 1989 and shot him 14 times in front of his wife Geraldine and their three children.

Barrett, who was a member of the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association at the time, was working as an informant for police Special Branch and the killing has been at the centre of a 15-year inquiry into collusion between Protestant paramilitaries and the security forces in Northern Ireland.

His admission of guilt today is likely to heighten demand by Mr Finucane's family for a full-scale judicial public inquiry into one of the most controversial of all shootings in the 30 years of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

Barrett, wearing a bleached denim jacket, denim jeans and pale blue shirt, was brought handcuffed into the dock where he looked anxiously around for familiar faces.

But there were none of his former associates to be seen.

Among those who heard him plead guilty today was Mr Finucane's former legal partner, Mr Peter Madden, former RUC Sergeant Johnston Brown who once taped an alleged confession from Barrett about his part in the assassination, and Commander David Cox, who is in charge of the day-to-day running of the investigation by the Metropolitan Police into the collusion allegations.

The investigation is headed up by Commissioner John Stevens, who was not in court.

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