'He had the eyes of a cold-blooded serial killer'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

The loyalist gunman who pleaded guilty to shooting dead the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane boasted of another nine killings, his former police handler revealed yesterday.

Ken Barrett was described as a cold-blooded serial killer who showed no remorse for his actions and turned into an informer to gain revenge on his former loyalist leaders. One of his police handlers, Johnston "Jonty" Brown, recalled meeting him in 1991. "I was responsible for running some very dangerous people, some really bad, evil people. But none of them ever frightened me the way Barrett frightened me," said Mr Brown, who took early retirement in 2001.

Barrett's tally of killings, he said, stretched into double figures and makes him as infamous as Michael Stone, his fellow loyalist and Milltown Cemetery bomber. "When you have been in the presence of Barrett, you would compare him with Stone or Peter Sutcliffe. This man is a serial killer," said Mr Brown.

When Barrett approached police in 1991 offering information, he wanted two things: money and revenge. He was a regular fixture at greyhound races in north Belfast and had run into debt.

He had been commander of the Ulster Defence Association's B Company in the Woodvale district of Belfast, but that was stripped from him after he was caught stealing from a racketeering kitty.

Now a rank and file volunteer, Barrett resented his treatment. He was caught by undercover officers from a team set up by Sir John Stevens, the head of the Metropolitan Police, who investigated allegations of police and army collusion in the 1989 murder of Mr Finucane.

The officers secretly recorded Barrett making a confession by posing as drug dealers. In the recordings, he bragged that Mr Finucane, a solicitor who had represented republican suspects, had been "f***ing massacred".

Barrett declared: "I whacked a few people in the past. People say how do you sleep, Ken? I say, I sleep fine."