October 24th, 2014

Scappaticci probe over death of Robert Bradford

Northern IrelandBy Roisin Gorman
Freddie Scappaticci
Freddie Scappaticci

Veteran Ulster Unionist politician Jim Rodgers has called on the police and Historical Enquiries team to reopen their investigation into the murder of MP Robert Bradford.

The Belfast Alderman made the plea after notorious IRA double agent Freddie Scappaticci was linked to the unsolved murder.

Sources close to the double murder in 1981 of Reverend Bradford, a Methodist minister and the MP for South Belfast and Belfast man Ken Campbell, say Scappaticci has been identified by witnesses as one of the killers.

The brazen murder, which was claimed by the IRA, sent shockwaves across Northern Ireland during an already volatile period of the Troubles.

Despite a massive police operation and Bradford’s high profile no one has ever been convicted in connection with it.

West Belfast man Scappaticci, codenamed Stakeknife, was a ruthless IRA murderer who was suspected of involvement in the deaths of dozens of loyalists, policemen and civilians. 

He was also in charge of the Provo’s Nutting Squad, its internal security unit which dealt with informers. Many Republicans died at Scap’s hands and others were sacrificed to protect the Army’s most valuable secret agent.

He was exposed as an agent in 2003 and fled Northern Ireland.

Scap was active at around the time of the Bradford and Campbell murders and has been informally identified by several of the witnesses in Finaghy Community Centre on the day of the murders.

Alderman Rodgers was a close pal of Rev Bradford and says the killings have been largely forgotten.

He believes his friend was killed because he was about to expose corruption in the Royal Victoria Hospital, to which some Republicans were linked.

“I am calling on the HET to pursue this along with the police because there have been claims that a well-known Republican tout was involved in the murder,” says the Ulster Unionist.

“Robert was about to reveal news about corruption in the RVH. A number of people had suspected at the time that some Republican who was working with police could well have been involved but nothing has ever been proven. 

“This case should be reopened and pursued.”

The PSNI were under pressure last week from Police Ombudsman Michael Maguire for failing to provide information on police investigations into 60 murders.