‘No Stakeknife link’ to Notorantonio murder

Alfredo "Freddie" Scappaticci pictured at the 1987 funeral of IRA man Larry Marley. He has denied being agent Stakeknife. Photo: PACEMAKER PRESS
Alfredo "Freddie" Scappaticci pictured at the 1987 funeral of IRA man Larry Marley. He has denied being agent Stakeknife. Photo: PACEMAKER PRESS
Share this article

Detectives investigating the activities of the British agent known as Stakeknife have found no evidence linking him to the murder of Francisco Notorantonio, it has been reported.

In recent years there have been claims that the loyalist gunmen were diverted away from Stakeknife by military agent handlers in an effort to protect a valuable source.

Mr Notorantonio, 66, was shot dead by the UDA at his west Belfast home in 1987.

Freddie Scappaticci has been widely named as the prized agent within the IRA’s notorious ‘nutting squad’ internal security unit. He denies the allegations.

In 2016, a specialist team been set up to ascertain whether there is evidence of criminal offences having been committed by Stakeknife – including murder – and also whether any offences have been committed by any state agent handlers.

Known as Operation Kenova, the inquiry is being headed by Bedfordshire Police chief constable John Boutcher.

In recent months he has met with Mr Notorantonio’s family and advised them he can find no evidence to support the claimed link with Stakeknife, the Irish News has reported.

As a result of the Op Kenova finding, a solicitor acting for the murdered man’s family has now called for the Kenova team to “investigate this process of misinformation” in line with European Convention on Human Rights obligations on the state to conduct a proper investigation.

Commenting on Op Kenova at its launch, chief constable George Hamilton said: “We’ll be reaching into a lot of very difficult places.”

Operation Kenova has declined to comment.