CHAPTER 11: PETER WRIGHT, MI5’S BLACKMAILER SUPREME
WRIGHT COULD ADMIT TO MURDER BUT THERE WERE OTHER CRIMES THAT EVEN HE COULD NOT BRING HIMSELF TO ACKNOWLEDGE. THE RAPE OF CHILDREN IN IRELAND MUST HAVE BEEN ONE SUCH SECRET.
Peter Wright CBE of MI5 was Britain’s most accomplished blackmailer. He was central to the surveillance and blackmail of Soviet diplomats and spies in the UK and was sent abroad to work with MI6 on overseas operations. In retirement he used the knowledge he had accumulated to blackmail no less an entity than the British Establishment with what he knew. If anyone knew about Kincora, it was Peter Wright. Indeed, it is a virtual certainty that he set up the surveillance and blackmail operation involving Kincora in the first place.
Wright reveal some – but not all – of his secrets in 1987 in his highly controversial memoirs, Spycatcher. He did so after winning a volcanic legal battle in Australia against Her Majesty’s Government which had tried to prevent its publication. Spycatcher cast MI5 and MI6 in a deplorable light: little more than organisations riddled with traitors and immersed in criminality.
Wright must have started writing the book in the mid-1980s, i.e. within four or five years after the Kincora scandal erupted (1980) and the murder of McKeague (1982), so he would have been aware of the panic that had gripped Whitehall about the exposure of the wider scandal.
In his two books Wright blithely described how MI5 used prostitutes and engaged in sexual blackmail, albeit he did not go as far as to acknowledge that children had been exploited in these operations. “It is well known that MI5 gained useful information by employing ladies who gave sexual favours to foreign diplomats and agents. .. We recruited prostitutes as agents. (The Spycatcher’s Encyclopedia of Espionage page 195)
Throughout the Spycatcher trial, HMG was put on an anvil and hammered mercilessly by Wright’s dogged lawyer, Malcolm Turnbull, who later became the prime minister of Australia. When Turnbull published his own account of the affair, The Spycatcher Trial, he recounted how he had asked Wright at their first meeting if he thought HMG feared he might reveal other secrets. “They might,” Wright replied adding mysteriously, “I spent a lot of time in Northern Ireland, you know. But I won’t reveal anything about that. Malcolm, it would be easy for me to make this book very sensational indeed.”
Wright had also cautioned Turnbull that: “I may never be able to tell you the truth about some things.” When Turnbull asked him what he meant, Wright responded: “My work in Northern Ireland, for example. Satellite surveillance. A lot of things. This is a safe book compared to what I could write.”
THREATS, COUNTER-THREATS & A SPY’S LIFE INSURANCE POLICY
Wright had retired from MI5 in 1976 a disgruntled man. He and his wife Lois emigrated to Australia to live near one of their daughters, Jennifer, in Tasmania to raise horses. By the 1980s he had decided to put pen to paper.
Wright had diabetes, was frail and generally in poor health. Before the Australian courtroom drama began, Turnbull visited London where he met with a senior legal figure acting on behalf of HMG. Turnbull’s arm was seized by the lawyer and held in a “hard” grip at it. “Well you tell [Wright] from me,” the lawyer said “that he’d better seek some medical advice before he comes to court. He’ll get no quarter in the witness box on account of his ill-health.” While this was clearly not a death threat, if this was how the occupant of one of HMG’s loftiest legal perches was prepared to conduct himself, what was to be expected from the gangsters in MI5? Wright had participated in at least one – if not multiple – MI5 assassination operations and knew perfectly well what its cutthroats were capable of. It probably crossed his mind that given half the chance they might, for example, arrange a road traffic accident along a dusty Tasmanian dirt track. To avoid this, he took out a life assurance policy, one that involved a threat to reveal his unpublished secrets if he was murdered.
The legal wrangling dragged on for another year. On 14 June 1988, while an injunction restraining British newspapers from publishing the contents of the book was crumbling in the House of Lords in London, Wright made his threat public: “There are 10 major stories which I have not put in [Spycatcher] and there are probably others if I thought about it. I may put them into a secret report or I may do nothing. I just haven’t thought it out yet.” The next day, The Times of London reported that HMG had ‘always been aware that Mr Wright knew a lot more than he revealed in Spycatcher, particularly concerning his service as an MI5 officer in Northern Ireland’.
From his home in Australia, Wright buoyed the story by proclaiming that the real reason HMG had gone to such lengths to muzzle him was “because of the other things I know. But I said in the beginning I wouldn’t publish them and I haven’t done it. They have always been frightened of what I know…” Just in case the message wasn’t clear, he told the BBC that his future course of action would depend on how HMG “behaved themselves”.
‘I SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN IRELAND, AND IT WAS NOT PLEASANT’
Spycatcher became an international bestseller shifting over two million copies and earned Wright a fortune. His ghostwriter, Paul Greengrass, went on to great success as a film director. His credits include the Jason Bourne film series.
After his publishing success, Wright retreated into virtual seclusion on his small farm near the apple-growing centre of Cygnet, at least for a while. Whereas he had once courted the media, requests for interviews were now batted out-of-court by his wife Lois. “Sorry. He won’t talk to journalists or anyone else like that,” she was quoted as saying. “He has nothing left to say.”
But he had plenty left to say, albeit that some of it was utterly innocuous. On 12 August 1990 the Sunday Times reported that he was writing another book provisionally entitled ‘Tomorrow Is Another Day” about “a tamer topic that should unsettle no government”, the rearing of pedigree animals. But at least the proposed publication provided Wright with an opportunity to remind HMG to behave itself. “Peter does talk occasionally about writing down some post-Spycatcher reflections, but I fear they may never come to fruition,” Sandy Grant, the managing director of Heinemann in Australia, was quoted as saying.
In 1991 he published a second spy book but it was a limp offering, little more than an A-Z of espionage terminology with a few stories thrown in for good measure. It was entitled the Spycatcher’s Encyclopedia of Espionage. There was, however, a hint in it at the Irish secrets he intended to carry to his grave if HMG behaved itself. ‘I spent a lot of time in Ireland’, he intoned, ‘and it was not pleasant. We also did a lot of things there which I am never going to talk about, because it would just cause more trouble.’ (114).
There is a possibility, albeit a wafer thin one, that Wright may have eventually let Turnbull have a peep inside his box of secrets. In his book, Turnbull was able to describe how Wright “had been privy to some of the weightiest secrets of the free world, he had spied on presidents and prime ministers, he was at the very centre of the fight against the .. IRA…” (Turnbull 19). Perhaps one day Turnbull will clarify what – if anything – he learnt about Wright’s activities in Ireland and whether he knows anything about a secret dossier.
MI5’S PEEPING TOM SUPREME
By the 1960s Wright had become MI5’s Witch-Finder General, a position he exploited to accumulate mountains of dossiers containing embarrassing secrets about the British Establishment. During the incessant mole hunts Wright undertook, he was granted access to any file he required in his search for treachery, real or imagined. His meddles ranged across universities, government departments – especially the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Home Office – Buckingham Palace, and anywhere else that took his fancy. He even interviewed Airey Neave MP, who had escaped from Colditz, about the political leanings of his fellow non-British prisoners. According to Wright, MI5’s D-G, Roger Hollis, instructed “that I myself had to conduct any interview deemed sensitive, which normally meant it was with a lord, a knight, politician, top civil servant, or spy suspect.”
As described earlier, one of those Wright interrogated was the arch MI5 traitor, Sir Anthony Blunt. Blunt was prepared to betray many of his friends to preserve his position: “Blunt, too, loved to discuss the scandalous side of Cambridge life in the 1930s. .. I soon realised that the [Cambridge] Ring of Five stood at the centre of a series of other connecting rings, each pledged to silence, each anxious to protect secrets from outsiders. There was the secret ring of homosexuals, where loyalty to their kind overrode all other obligations; there was the secret world of the Apostles [a group of Cambridge intellectuals], where ties to fellow Apostles remain strong throughout life; and then there was the ring of those friends of Blunt and [Guy] Burgess who were not themselves spies, but who knew or guessed what was going on. Each ring supported the others, and made the task of identifying the inner core that much more difficult.”
NOTHING HAS CHANGED
Wright personally interviewed and re-interviewed more than 100 people over a period of six years. By the end of it he could boast: “I had seen into the secret heart of the present Establishment at a time when they had been young and careless. I knew their scandals and their intrigues. I knew too much, and they knew it.” One of these was the former PM Anthony Eden. All of this gave MI5 a power over the political establishment and provides one clue – among many – as to why successive governments have mangled their reputations by covering up the criminal activities of MI5.
The control of politicians by the darker elements of the civil service has not changed much in the intervening decades. David Cameron told the family of Patrick Finucane (the Belfast solicitor who had been assassinated by British agents in NI) that he could not order a public inquiry into the scandal. (This event is discussed in more detail in the chapter about Tommy Lyttle.)
NERVE GAS & POISON
What Wright divulged in Spycatcher was hair raising enough. He described how he and an Irishman called Bill Magan had plotted to ‘neutralise’ General Grivas during Britain’s struggle against EOKA in Cyprus in the late 1950s; a treasonous plot against PM Harold Wilson; and wrongdoing by MI6.
He described how at the start of the Suez Crisis, MI6 had “developed a plan, through the London Station, to assassinate [Egypt’s President] Nasser using nerve gas. [British PM Anthony] Eden initially gave his approval to the operation, but later rescinded it when he got agreement from the French and Israelis to engage in joint military action. When this course failed, and he was forced to withdraw [from Suez], Eden reactivated the assassination option a second time. By this time virtually all MI6 assets in Egypt’s had been rounded up by Nasser, and a new operation, using renegade Egyptian officers, was drawn up, but it failed lamentably, principally because the cache of weapons which had been hidden on the outskirts of Cairo was found to be defective”. (160)
Had the nerve gas plot proceeded, the collateral damage to Nasser’s secretarial and domestic staff, not to mention anyone happening to visit him would have been devastating. The gas would have asphyxiated the victims while melting their vital organs.
The gas MI6 had in mind to assassinate Nasser was undoubtedly developed by HMG’s team of Dr Strangeloves at a ghoulish scientific complex known as Porton Down. Wright described how he once visited it for a demonstration of a cigarette packet which had been fitted with a poison tipped dart by the staff of the Explosives Research and Development Establishment: ‘We solemnly put on white coats and were taken out to one of the animal compounds behind Porton by Dr Ladell, the scientist there who handled all MI5 and MI6 work. A sheep on a lead was led into the centre of the ring. One flank had been shaved to reveal the course pink skin. Ladell’s assistant pulled out the cigarette packet and stepped forward. The sheep started, and was restrained by the lead, and I thought perhaps the device had misfired. But then the sheep’s knees began to buckle, and it started rolling its eyes and frothing at the mouth. Slowly the animal sank to the ground, life draining away, as the white-coated professionals discussed the advantages of the modern new toxin around the corpse.” (162)
Porton Down is still open for business.
PEEPING AT THE ROYAL FAMILY’S DIRTY LINEN
Before Wright’s commenced his interrogation of Blunt, he received a briefing from Michael Adeane, the Queen’s Private Secretary, who told him: “From time to time you may find Blunt referring to an assignment he undertook on behalf of the Palace – a visit to Germany at the end of the war. Please do not pursue this matter. Strictly speaking, it is not relevant to considerations of national security.” (Spycatcher p.223). Wright was hardly going to deny MI5 an insight into this mystery since Blunt had undoubtedly passed details of it to his KGB handlers. The odds are high he learnt that Blunt had been sent to Germany to recover the correspondence the Duke of Windsor had exchanged with the Nazi hierarchy after his abdication. Revelation of this nature, even in 1987, still had the potential to shake the foundations of Buckingham Palace.
BOMBING SHIPS CARRYING HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS
One of the secrets Wright may have known about was MI6’s operation to disrupt the flow of Jewish refugees from Mediterranean ports to Palestine, codenamed Operation Embarrass, in 1946 and 1947. One of the MI6 unit was an Irishman, Wing-Commander Derek Verschoyle. The first account of the Operation emerged in The Friends, a book about MI6 published by Nigel West in 1988, a year after Spycatcher.
MI6 expert Dr Stephen Dorrill dug up additional details which he published in 2000 revealing how one former MI6 officer had described it as the “blackest page in MI6’s post-war history” and that there had been persistent rumours that one unidentified ship packed with Holocaust survivors “may have been blown up at sea, whether by accident or design”. (548)
MI6 acknowledged the existence of operation in 2010 when they let Prof. Keith Jeffery of Queens University, Belfast, include an account of it in the official history of MI6 had asked him to write. In fairness to MI6, it should be commended for the disclosure. It shows not that everyone in it is addicted to lies, deceit and cover-up and offers a glimmer of hope that it may be mending some of its ways. They should note too that MI6 survived the revelation without much condemnation.
THE SEXUAL BLACKMAIL OF AN ARCHBISHOP
Bizarrely, while Wright was prepared to admit that he had been involved in a plot to kill Colonel Grivas in Cyprus, he was coy about the sexual blackmail of the Colonel’s political ally, Archbishop Makarios. That operation was also exposed by Nigel West in 1988. Two years later no less a figure than Sir Dick White, confirmed that it had occurred. White sat at the summit of the intelligence community in the early 1970s as Intelligence Coordinator at the Cabinet Office. Uniquely, he had served as both Director-General of MI5 and Chief of MI6 prior to this. He was a pivotal figure in the intelligence overhaul which took place in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s.White told his biographer, Tom Boyer, author of The Perfect English Spy (1990), that MI6 had blackmailed Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus into signing the 1959 Lancaster House Agreement which had curtailed the independence of Cyprus and granted Britain a number of military bases on the island because of ‘information about his homosexuality’. (231)
Wright had been directly involved in the surveillance operation of Makarios. He and a colleague from MI6 had placed a listening device on the telephone lines leading to the Archbishop’s Palace in Cyprus. MI6 also had a number of agents inside it controlled by Sir Stephen Hastings MC, who later became a Conservative MP. Wright gave no hint that any of them had discovered that the Archbishop was engaged in homosexual relations, or that this information had been used to blackmail him.
THE GRUESOME MURDER OF PATRICE LUMUMBA (1961)
Declassified CIA records confirm that President Eisenhower of the USA ordered the murder of Patrice Lumumba, PM of the Congo. Lumumba was killed in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 1961. He had to endure a gruesome orgy of torture and violence that lasted for five or six hours before he finally expired. A harrowing account of it appears in the towering international bestseller, The Devil’s Chessboard (2016), a biography of the egregiously evil Allen Dulles of the CIA. While the book focusses on the CIA’s involvement, MI6 played a significant part in it too, something Wright would have known about.
Howard Smith, who served as Britain’s intelligence supremo in Northern Ireland, 1971-1972, was a pivotal figure in the murder. He later became Ambassador to Moscow and, in 1979, D-G of MI5. In 1960 Smith was a senior official at the FCO with responsibility for the Congo. Daphne Park was serving as the MI6 Head of Station in the Congo. Park reported to Smith that Lumumba was allegedly trying to take his country into the Soviet camp. This was utter nonsense. Nonetheless, on 28 September, 1960, Smith circulated a memo to the Foreign Office where it was digested by a number of highly placed powerbrokers including the future Prime Minister Ted Heath who was then a junior minister at the FCO. In it Smith nonchalantly explained he could see “only two possible solutions” to the situation: “The first is the simple one of ensuring Lumumba’s removal from the scene by killing him. This should in fact solve the problem, since so far as we can tell, Lumumba is not a leader of a movement within which there are potential successors of his quality and influence. His supporters are much less dangerous material”.
Park was later appointed co-chair of the British-Irish Association (B-IA) where she became a friend of Garret FitzGerald. Charles Haughey forbade his minister attending B-IA meetings as he believed it was a British Intelligence front designed to gather information from Irish politicians and police officers. (Chief Superintendent John Fleming, the Head of the Special Branch in the late 1960s and early 1970s attended the BIA.).
By the time Wright’s book was meandering towards the printing presses, Smith was a decorated and recently retired D-G of MI5; exactly the type of person HMG would instinctively rally to protect. Meanwhile, Daphne Park was deeply immersed in MI6’s Anglo-Irish machinations. All told she was a governor of the BBC (where she interfered with broadcasts about NI) and on the cusp of becoming a life peer. She was also a friend of the then serving Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald (through her managerial role in the British-Irish Association). MI6 could not afford to allow Wright expose her part in Lumumba’s murder or other aspects of her sordid past: in the 1970s she had served as the Head of MI6’s Western Hemisphere division where – at a minimum – she had knowledge of the MI6-CIA Gladio death squads active in Europe at the time and had spread smears about Charles Haughey across the globe through MI6-CIA controlled news agencies. Had she been exposed by Wright, a veritable can of Irish worms might have wriggled free just as Haughey was about to seize power back from FitzGerald and HMG was fearful about what he might do with the Hillsborough Agreement and security cooperation generally.
Incidentally, Park remained an unapologetic colonialist. When she was interviewed by the Daily Telegraph in April 2003 she stated that the “The [British] Government is too worried about speaking out [against Mugabe] because they think they will be accused of being colonialist. Well I don’t think that’s such a terrible crime.’ Before her death, Park also acknowledged that: “Yes, I have been involved in death, but I cannot speak about that”. Interested readers should purchase a copy of the fascinating Queen of Spies (2015) by the Dublin writer and intelligence expert, Paddy Hayes. One of the more interesting quotes in it is that of John de St Jorre of MI6 who worked with Park in Leopoldville: “I always thought of Daphne as a blend of Margaret Rutherford, the bosomy and beloved actress, and Rosa Klebb, the cold-eyed KGB dragon-lady with a poisonous blade in her shoe.”
MI5’s TRINITY COLLEGE BLACKMAILER
Wright knew a lot more about MI6 involvement in sexual blackmail, often run in conjunction with MI5.
Christopher Herbert served as MI5’s Security Liaison Officer (SLO) with the RUC, 1968-1970. He had been educated at Trinity College Dublin where he had obtained a first-class degree in experimental science. He subsequently gravitated towards MI5’s surveillance department which employed burglars and locksmiths.
Herbert returned to London from Belfast in 1970 and was assigned to K Branch where he oversaw the blackmail of a Soviet agent in London, Oleg Lyalin. In Spycatcher Wright revealed how MI5 and MI6 placed him under surveillance with his secretary Irina Templyakova with whom he was conducting an illicit affair. When they felt they had enough material to blackmail him, he was confronted and coerced into working for them. Lyalin supplied a list of KGB officers in the UK and in September 1971 Edward Heath expelled over 105 of them from Britain.
Another Soviet that MI5 tried to blackmail was Sergi Grigovin. Peter Wright described how MI5 burst in on him during one of his extramarital trysts in London. The naked spy immediately claimed diplomatic immunity and demanded his clothes back while his erstwhile companion was ushered from the room. After two hours of trying to browbeat him, MI5 gave up, returned his clothes and let him go.
BOMBING THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
The Republic of Ireland was virgin territory and a playground for the dirty tricksters of MI5 and MI6 in 1972. In December of that year they organised two car bombings in Dublin while the Offences Against the State Bill was limping towards its doom inside Leinster House. Many of the deputies in the Dail who were opposed to the bill backed off after the explosions and it was ushered onto the statute books. The assumption at the time was that the bombs were the work of militant Republicans, especially as there were protests in the city that night against the arrest of the Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA, Sean MacStíofáin. The unit most likely responsible for the attack was Brigadier Frank Kitson’s infamous Military Reaction Force (MRF). One of those involved, Albert Baker, was a British agent, a fact confirmed to Village by a military officer who read materials at HQNI about him. Baker participated in the attack by ferrying some of the explosives at an early stage of the operation.
As the man formulating MI5’s policy on Ireland, it is inconceivable that Peter Wright did not know everything there was to know about the MRF and the 1972 Dublin bombings. If, as suspected, MI6 and the MRF was behind it, it would surely rank as one of Wright’s unpublished secrets.
In addition, he would have known the inside story of the Littlejohn affair during which the Littlejohn brothers petrol bombed Garda stations in 1972 at the behest of MI6. The Littlejohns were caught and imprisoned in Mountjoy for a bank heist they executed on Grafton Street in October 1972. They were released from prison early by Garret FitzGerald in 1981 on “humanitarian” grounds and are still alive.
HER MAJESTY’S BROTHEL KEEPERS
In the summer of 1970 ads began to appear in Belfast newspapers advertising massage parlours. What the customers did not realise was that the establishments had been fitted out with surveillance equipment.
One brothel, the Gemini Health Studio was located on the Antrim Road. When it opened its doors in the summer of 1970 it promised “very attractive masseuses’ in advertisements in Belfast newspapers. Another more upmarket brothel was located on the Malone Road. The Gemini was closed down after the IRA attacked it in 1972.
Peter Wright was probably the leader of the surveillance teams which set up the monitoring stations at the brothels and other honeytraps in Northern Ireland, perhaps including the boy brother at which Alan Kerr worked or establishments like it. In his memoirs he revealed that MI5’s D section employed a string of prostitutes. He was also the man MI5 used to give warnings to important people who were due to travel behind the Iron Curtain about the likelihood they would be targeted by KGB sexual blackmailers.
FORMULATING MI5’S POLICY FOR IRELAND
By the early 1970s, Wright had clawed his way to the top of MI5’s greasy, bloodstained pole. He was close to its D-G, Sir Martin Furnival Jones. When Michael Hanley, the Deputy D-G of MI5 became D-G in 1972, he appointed Wright as his special adviser. Hanley asked Wright to formulate proposals about how MI5 should deal with NI after which he spent “a lot of time in Ireland” and did the mysterious things which would have caused “more trouble” if they were ever exposed.
Peter Wright was MI5’s surveillance supremo during the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He described how for five years he and his team “bugged and burgled our way across London at the State’s behest, while pompous bowler-hatted civil servants in Whitehall pretended to look the other way.” The most “extensive microphoning operation [we] ever undertook was in Lancaster House … which hosted the Colonial conferences of the 1950s and 1960s.” He installed a “comprehensive microphoning system throughout the building” which was used “throughout the rest of the 1960s and 1970s, whenever high-level diplomatic negotiations took place in London.”
Wright also acknowledged that he had bugged the hotel bedroom of the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, when he had stayed at Claridges during a visit to London in 1956.
As MI5’s peeping Tom supreme, Wright was undoubtedly in overall charge of the surveillance equipment installed at the brothels MI5 ran in Belfast (and no doubt elsewhere) in 1970 including the Gemini in Belfast which catered for heterosexual adults. It was attacked by the IRA in 1972. After the attack, bystanders watched while cameras were hauled from the premises. Despite widespread knowledge of the affair, Wright ignored it in his memoirs. Had he included it, it most likely would have led to questions about sexual blackmail in Ireland and led to queries about Kincora. Wright hardly relished the thought that his daughters would discover that their beloved father had stood back while children were raped and driven to suicide.
Peter Wright died a rich yet bitter man in 1995 at the age of 78. He had spent his declining years referring to Thatcher as a “bitch” and those around her as “those bastards”. Assuming he compiled a secret dossier, what happened to it? After the passage of three decades it is unlikely it will now surface.
THE DIRT BOOK
As Peter Wright knew well, MI5 and MI6 were not the only British powerbrokers who gathered information for blackmail: it was a commonplace practice at Westminster. Ted Heath, who served as Tory chief whip, 1956 to 1959, brought a professionalism to the task by assembling what became known as the Dirt Book, an encyclopaedia of embarrassing information about his colleagues, designed to stop them stepping out of line. It was exploited during the Suez Crisis.
When the Labour Party took over, Edward Short (later Deputy Leader of the Labour Party) became the new Chief Whip. He was repelled by the ‘dirty book’ and discontinued the practice.
When the Tories returned to power again, William Whitelaw stepped into the post of Chief Whip. He unashamedly confessed he continued the practice to the BBC in 1995: “The Dirt Book is just a little book where you write down various things you know or hear about people that may or may not be true. I think you could make a very good guess what sorts of things it contains”.
We know exactly what it contained: one of Whitelaw’s successors, Tim Fortescue MP, who occupied the post of whip between 1970 and 1973, made it abundantly clear on camera to the BBC: “Anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say, ‘Now I’m in a jam. Can you help?’ It might be debt, it might be .. a scandal involving small boys [author’s emphasis], or any kind of scandal in which .. a member seemed likely to be mixed up. They’d come and ask if we could help, and if we could, we did.”
Fortescue’s reference to ‘small boys’ implies that blackmail material was gathered about MPs who were having sex with boys who were probably a lot younger than 21, the then legal age of consent. He also confessed that “scandalous stories” were of great assistance to whips. “When you are trying to persuade a member to vote the way he didn’t want to vote on a controversial issue – which is part of your job – it is possible to suggest that perhaps it would not be in his interest if people knew something or other – very mildly”.
William Whitelaw became Northern Ireland Secretary, 1972-1974. Hence by 1972 both the British PM and the NI Secretary were experienced sexual blackmailers, hardly a deterrent to anyone in the intelligence community such as Peter Wright who wanted to engage in sexual blackmail.
CHAPTER 12: THE REHABILITATION OF SIR ANTHONY BLUNT?
WAS BLUNT THE REFINED ENGLISHMAN WHO CALLED HIMSELF ‘ANDREW’?
In the summer of either 1973 or 1974, when Richard Kerr was 12 or 13, and a resident at Williamson House, he was abused by a man who identified himself as “Andrew”. Kerr is adamant that the man was Blunt. If he is correct, Blunt would have been about 65 or 66 years of age. The man Kerr recalls was ‘about 62 to 65’. Whether he was indeed Blunt or someone who shared his distinctive appearance and build, the fact that a young boy in care in Belfast was supplied to an Englishman for sex is in itself a scandal.
Kerr’s journey to meet ‘Andrew’ began at Williamson House where he was picked up by two men in a car. En route, they stopped off at the Culloden Hotel on the Bangor Road opposite what Kerr recalls as the ‘Old Folk Museum’ which is clearly a reference to the ‘Ulster Folk and Transport Museum’. The adult front seat passenger went inside the Culloden, probably to make a telephone call and receive instructions. After he came out, they proceeded on to Bangor and reached a hotel which Kerr recalls was called the ‘King or Queen’s Arms, something like that’. This was undoubtedly the Queen’s Court Hotel. Kerr recalls the hotel was on the seafront; had an old fashioned lift and a few floors, just as the Queen’s Court had.
Significantly, it also had a large function room at its rear and was a popular venue for dance bands and discos in the 1970s, a factor which, in addition to its seafront location, made it ideal for a paedophile group because it was perfectly normal for young people to be on the premises and for adults who were total strangers to book rooms at it for short stays.
The Girton Lodge and Park Avenue hotels on the Newtownards Road were also used by the ring because young people were often present unescorted.
Kerr was taken inside and left to wait for a while in the lounge area. He got the feeling that a man present in the lounge was involved in what was taking place. A while later Kerr was brought upstairs by the adult passenger from the car and introduced to the man who would abuse him, a man who called himself ‘Andrew’. Kerr would spend about three hours with him upstairs. ‘Andrew’ was tall, wore a three-piece suit and came over as a ‘very unique type of’ person; someone who ‘presented himself very well and did a lot of talking’ in a refined English accent. Kerr was struck by his penchant for secrecy. ‘We can keep this to ourselves’ he urged. ‘I am a man of my word. I will look after you’, he promised in return for the boy’s silence.
Kerr found him ‘polite’ and ‘a little more gentle’ than some of his other abusers. Kerr was, as he puts it himself, ‘abused by sharks and dolphins and I would rather be with the dolphins.’ ‘Andrew’ was not violent with him as Enoch Powell MP had been. ‘Andrew’ had a grandfather watch and chain. ‘He pulled it out and flipped it open and entertained me with it. He let me hold it’, Kerr recalls. He also gave him a box of chocolates. ‘A lot of them gave me chocolates, Black Magic, Milk Tray and Quality Street. How did they known I liked chocolates?
Despite his pretence at kindness, the man was a perfidious and calculating pervert with only one agenda – to have sex with a child. Once he had put him at a relative ease, the older man instructed Kerr to get undressed and started kissing his ears. By now this type of behaviour had become ‘natural’ for the boy; he had become, as he puts it himself, “a boy toy”. He focussed his mind on the chocolates while ‘Andrew’ continued to talk into his ears softly; repeatedly whispering that he was “safe”. He soon made his real intention clear: he wanted the boy to penetrate him and then give him a massage. Kerr did as he was bid.
Later, in the car on the way home, one of the men stressed the importance of not talking about the man in the hotel. ‘Richie, you must not talk about this to anyone’, he stressed.
It was night by the time Kerr arrived back at Williamson House after this ordeal. He was abused on at least two further occasions by ‘Andrew’ who had obviously been promised access to the boy by the men running the ring and hence ‘Andrew’ had told him in Bangor that he ‘would look after’ him. Kerr never stayed with him overnight as he did with some of his other abusers.
Kerr recalls another incident which took place in a house with a ‘library’ with a driveway leading up to it. On this occasion, ‘Andrew’ gave him alcohol, either brandy or scotch.
One day Kerr was watching TV when Blunt came on the screen and he recognised him immediately as ‘Andrew’. This was undoubtedly the press interview Blunt gave after he had been unmasked as a traitor on 20 November 1979.
In 2019 Kerr was shown a photograph of a man without any indication of who he was. Kerr said he thought he was the man who had driven the car to ‘Andrew’. That photograph (reproduced below) was of Blunt’s friend Peter Montgomery.
WHAT WAS THE EXTENT OF BLUNT’S REHABILITATION WITH MI5?
MI5 and the RUC Special Branch had a clear duty and interest in maintaining an eye on Blunt’s movements in Ireland for a number of reasons. First, he was the Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures, a former member of MI5, and, like his friend Captain Peter Montgomery, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyrone, a possible IRA assassination target.
Second, as a former Soviet agent, Peter Wright and others in MI5 would have felt it imperative to keep an eye on him lest he revert to his treacherous old ways. At the time they were concerned that the Soviet Union might be meddling in the affairs of Northern Ireland.
Third, Blunt remained a potent font of knowledge. Despite any lingering suspicion MI5 might have harboured about his repentance, by the early 1970s, they would have been quizzing him intently about what he knew about his political friends including those in the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) such as Knox Cunningham and his protégé James Molyneaux MP, who rose to become leader of the UUP. Suffice it to say, they would have had a particularly keen interest in any of the paedophiles and pederasts in his circle who were now influential in Loyalist circles.
Bearing the foregoing in mind, and assuming for the moment that Blunt was indeed ‘Andrew’, it is difficult to conceive how he could have gained access to a child from Williamson House without MI5’s knowledge. While it is possible that Peter Montgomery could have arranged the assignations for him, it is unlikely that Eric Witchell would have released Kerr from the home on three occasions to him or anyone else without permission from his handlers. The odds are high that Blunt had wormed his way so deeply back into MI5’s good books they were prepared to let him enjoy this perk as a reward.
BLUNT SCHEMES AGAINST IAN PAISLEY
Blunt was also active in Northern Ireland politics. In one of his books, the Irish author and journalist, Robin Bryans, described how Blunt – whom he had known extremely well – had once tried to inveigle him into a scheme to undermine Ian Paisley. Unfortunately, Bryans did not reveal the details of this plot; in particular he failed to disclose the date. Nonetheless, it is abundantly clear that MI5 schemed and plotted against Paisley during the early and mid-1970s by attempting to link him with a homosexual netherworld, precisely the terrain about which Blunt was so familiar. If the plot Bryans wrote about falls into this timeframe, it raises the possibility Blunt was a cog in it, a further indication of his return to the MI5 fold.
If it was earlier, in the mid to late 1960s, MI5 would have been keen to learn the minutiae of the plot as part of its efforts to build up a picture of Paisley’s life and associations. Ultimately, it recruited William McGrath, the housefather at Kincora, who knew about Paisley’s involvement in a string of UVF explosions in the late 1960s.
Either way Blunt would have been of enormous potential to MI5 as a source in the very early 1970s when they were desperate for information about the men directing the Loyalist opposition to London. A man like Blunt would have been invaluable to them because he would have helped break their reliance on the RUC Special Branch which was loyal to the Stormont Government and, in their eyes, neither reliable nor competent.
It has been common knowledge for decades that Blunt cooperated with MI5 after it discovered his treachery but the depth of that cooperation has never been fully fathomed. If he gave them information which they used to ensnare Loyalist paedophiles, it would make sense of the strenuous efforts that a string of senior officials in Whitehall exerted to dissuade Margaret Thatcher from naming him as the traitor referred to obliquely in Private Eye. The magazine had stopped just short of naming him. One of their concerns must have been that he would blow the whistle on their dirty trick operations in Ireland.
Ultimately, whether Blunt was ‘Andrew’ and back in the MI5 fold or not, it is crucial not to lose sight of the real essence of this scandal: the existence of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring and its exploitation by MI5 and MI6 to recruit Loyalists including DUP members.
CHAPTER 13: TOMMY LYTTLE, ONE OF MI5’S AGENTS IN THE UDA AND HIS ROLE IN THE KINCORA SCANDAL. LYTTLE WAS ALSO THE MAN WHO GAVE THE ORDER TO MURDER PATRICK FINUCANE, THE BELFAST SOLICITOR IN 1989.
MARGARET THATCHER PRIME SUSPECT
On 12 February, 1989, the UDA assassinated Patrick Finucane, a highly-regarded Belfast solicitor, at his North Belfast home. Finucane, who was 38-years-old, was shot 14 times by two masked UDA gunmen who sledgehammered their way into his house. His wife Geraldine was also injured during the attack which took place while the couple was enjoying a meal with their young family.
Prime Suspect, former PM Margaret Thatcher: she sank the Belgrano and permitted RUC and SAS shoot-to-kill operations in Northern Ireland and covered up the shooting of an acknowledged – yet unarmed – IRA unit in Gibraltar. She is now the prime suspect in the murder of Patrick Finucane.
In 2019 the Supreme Court in London ruled that the British Government had failed to investigate the murder properly. The only tenable reason for this is because the murder was organised by MI5, the intelligence service attached to the Home Office.
A retired Canadian judge, Peter Cory, investigated the murder on behalf of the British State. During his inquiry MI5 officers broke into his office and stole some of the evidence he had accumulated.
A democracy in name only: the UK is one of the few countries in the West where the State can get away with murdering a lawyer. Patrick Finucane (above) who was murdered in front of his wife and young family by MI5-controlled UDA gunmen while they ate a meal in their home.
Cory also told Geraldine Finucane that he had seen a document relevant to her husband’s case which was marked “for Cabinet eyes only”. Mrs Finucane knows no more. This raises the distinct possibility that her husband’s case was discussed in Whitehall in sinister circumstances before the murder. These revelations formed part of BBC NI’s compelling seven part Spotlight series, ‘The Secret History of the Troubles’. They have been ignored by the mainstream British media.
Put simply, the finger of blame is now pointing at Margaret Thatcher. It now looks like she gave MI5 the green light to murder a perfectly respectable, law abiding lawyer. If Thatcher and her circle did not order the murder, why are the Tory top brass so terrified of an inquiry?
MI5 was led by Sir Patrick Walker at the time the assassination was planned and executed. If MI5 was involved, it is inconceivable he did not call the shots – literally. The pages of Village are open to Mr. Walker should he wish to rebut this contention.
When David Cameron was in 10 Downing Street he told the Finucane family that he could not order a public inquiry into the scandal. When Finucane’s brother Martin asked him why, he turned to Mrs Finucane and said: “Look, the last administration couldn’t deliver an inquiry in your husband’s case and neither can we”. According to Cameron this was because “there are people all around this place, [10 Downing Street], who won’t let it happen”. As he was saying this, he raised a finger and made a circular motion in the air.
Theresa May, who was Cameron’s Home Secretary between 2010 and 2016, before she became PM, did not order a proper inquiry either.
Now, only someone with the stature, independence, intelligence and integrity of Lord Saville, the man who led the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, can be permitted to lead one into the Finucane murder. The opportunity and duty to do the right thing has passed to Theresa May’s successor, Boris Johnson, and his Home Secretary, Priti Patel. Yet, will they prove every bit as disdainful and corrupt as Blair, Cameron and May and continue the cover-up?
Dignity personified: Geraldine Finucane who was told by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory that papers relating to her husband Patrick were read at Cabinet level. Was this before the shooting? A full judicial inquiry is required to get to the bottom of the murder including this vital new revelation. For a start the inquiry should clarify when the file Cory described to Mrs. Finucane was created, what was in it and who read it. In particular, did Thatcher know about the MI5-FRU-UDA hit in advance?
Time is fast running out to hear what potentially key living witnesses have to offer about the Finucane case. The list includes Thatcher’s then Home Secretary, Douglas Hurd. Born in March 1930, he published a 524 page autobiography in 2003. Unfortunately, there is no entry under the word “Finucane” in its index. Village also offers him the freedom of this website to inform our readers about what he know about the case, most particularly anything about “cabinet eyes only” documents.
The evidence that continues to accumulate points to the probability that Finucane, a skilful lawyer, was targeted by the British State because he had mastered the intricacies of the Diplock Court system in NI and was representing his clients to the best of his very considerable abilities. A lot of Provos were walking free from court. In the mind of Thatcher and others in London, he had to have been a Provo and his death warrant was approved. In these circumstances, the task of assassinating him was passed to Walker and his gang of cutthroats at MI5.
However, Finucane was not a Provo. On the contrary, he represented both Republicans and Loyalists. Who ever heard of a Provo securing the freedom of the Loyalist enemy? Moreover, he was married to a Protestant. Finucane was perfectly innocent of any involvement with the IRA although he was vilified as a member after his death.
Insofar as the UDA was concerned, the kill-order was issued by Tommy ‘Tucker’ Lyttle, the UDA’s ‘brigadier’ or commander in West Belfast. Ian Hurst, who served with the then top secret Force Reconnaissance Unit (FRU) of the British Army, has stated “with cast iron certainty” that Lyttle was a British agent who was “handled” by the RUC’s Special Branch (RUCSB) using the codename “Rodney Stewart”.
Lyttle himself confirmed to an internal UDA inquiry that he had been a British agent, arguing that he had exploited the relationship to help the UDA.
The RUCSB served as MI5’s foot soldiers in Northern Ireland. Lyttle also told author Greg Harkin that his RUCSB ‘handler’ had asked him: “Why don’t you whack Finucane?”.
Village has uncovered fresh information that not only confirms Lyttle’s role as a British agent but places him at the heart of the MI5 and MI6 paedophile ‘honeytrap’ operation which swirled around Kincora Boys’ Home in Belfast in the 1970s. Lyttle was working for MI5 from the mid, if not early, 1970s.
TOMMY ‘TUCKER’ LYTTLE, THE UDA’S WEST BELFAST BRIGADIER
Lyttle was born in 1939. His son John, who became a journalist, has written that, “At first my father had no abiding interest in politics – it wasn’t a job requirement for machinists at Mackie’s foundry in the late Sixties – but his family was something he was fiercely protective of. The one he came from: three sisters, one brother, his adored mother and father, and the one he created and was dead centre of, as only an Irish patriarch can be: three sons, two daughters. My father and mother entered wedlock young – he was 18, Elizabeth Baird was 19 – customary at our end of the social scale. My siblings and I arrived more or less every two years – also customary”.
John Lyttle has also explained that his father was seen by his family as “smart, very smart” – he did well at school and could have gone to grammar school on a scholarship but for a shortage of funds.
Lyttle became involved with the UDA after a bomb atrocity in Belfast on 11 December, 1971. John Lyttle has quoted his sister Linda, about how their father became involved:
‘’There was an IRA bomb on the Shankill and my Ma and Elaine nearly got blown up. That started me Da off’. She hesitates, then says something that makes perfect sense. ‘Two kids were killed. The first time kids were killed. Me Da took it… personally. Don’t you remember?’”. But, John Lyttle goes on, “I don’t remember. I have forgotten, or buried, much, a mountain of clippings, snapshots and unforgiven images: the gunman with the high-velocity rifle who aimed for someone else and nearly got my Da, the kidnapping that landed him on the front page of the Belfast Telegraph, a pistol to his head, midnight raids by police, various peaks and troughs as palace revolutions repetitively rocked the Ulster Defence Association. Old guard vs young turks, hardliners vs soft centres – they fall out, kill, regroup, splinter, my father somehow surviving each coup. But I instinctively know that what Linda says is true”.
Partners in crime: Loyalist terrorism came to rest on a tripod: MI5/RUC Special Branch, the Northern Ireland Office and British Military Intlligence.
By 1972 Lyttle had become a lieutenant colonel in the UDA’s ‘C’ Company, 2nd Battalion, Shankill Road. In 1973 he ran unsuccessfully for election to the NI Assembly. In November 1974 he visited Colonel Ghaddafi in Libya. In 1975 he rose to become the Brigadier of West Belfast Brigade, the UDA’s spokesman and a member of the Inner Council. He had a virtual free hand in running UDA operations in his domain and enjoyed a very high profile.
MURDER INC, THE UDA’s INNER COUNCIL
The Inner Council had come into existence after a meeting on 15 May, 1971, in the dining hall of North Howard Street school which was attended by approximately 300 representatives from the various Loyalist vigilante groups sprinkled around NI. The Inner Council would soon organise a network of Loyalist murder gangs.
The UDA was divided into seven brigade areas: North Belfast, East Belfast, South Belfast and West Belfast, South-East Antrim, Londonderry and the Border Counties. The brigades consisted of battalions, companies, platoons and sections. The structure was ruled over by the Inner Council which was made up of the seven brigadiers and their various ‘staffs’. At one stage it consisted of over 50 people but was later streamlined.
WILLIAM McGRATH, THE ‘BEAST OF KINCORA’ AND THE BIRTH OF THE UDA
The delegates at North Howard Street included UVF and Tara members. William McGrath, the Leader of Tara, a Loyalist paramilitary organisation, was deeply involved. He produced a document which has been called the birth certificate of the UDA.
McGrath became Housefather at Kincora Boys’ Home a few weeks after the North Howard Street meeting. It is highly likely that he had become a British agent prior to the North Howard Street convention.
THE ‘ROMPER ROOM’ TORTURE AND MURDER NETWORK
Tommy Lyttle was also a ruthless and violent man. Space does not permit a description of the appalling violence meted out by the UDA to random Catholic victims in the 1970s. Davey Payne established a string of human abattoirs known as ‘romper rooms’ where random Catholics abducted from the streets were tortured and murdered, often for the amusement of drunken UDA men and their girlfriends.
Further details can be gleaned from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Davy_Payne
As a senior UDA leader, Lyttle was one of the men who was fully aware of these atrocious murders.
Lyttle’s son knew just how violent his father could be. He has written how when he was a boy, he once searched “through the pockets of my father’s overcoat for loose change. We kids are not supposed to, but we do. I plunge my hand in and feel this wet, wringing wet. I drag it out. It’s a handkerchief. With an embroidered ‘T’. The linen is as red as the red hand of Ulster, soaked with blood, saturated with blood, dripping with blood. I squeeze, though I shouldn’t. The red trickles through my fingers. I watch, repelled and exhilarated. My father is in the front room. I hear football match results. He isn’t injured, hasn’t said anything about a nosebleed, a fall. He hasn’t mentioned a friend’s accident. I return the handkerchief, go to the bathroom, wash my hands”.
John Lyttle has also written about an incident when he was “nine or ten”: ‘The wee small hours of the morning. I come downstairs. I want a drink of water. In the front room a man is tied to a chair. He’s battered and bruised. My father is there with how many others? Three? Four? I stare until I’m noticed. What do you want?’, my father asks. ‘A drink of water’. ‘Get him a drink of water’. I continue to stare until my water is brought. I drink it on the spot. ‘Not so fast’, my father cautions. I hand the glass back and tread quietly back upstairs and climb into bed beside my brother Bill. By daylight, I’m certain it’s a dream. It must be: I’ve dreamt of it ever since”. Even if it was a dream, it was exactly what Lyttle got up to in real life.
HER MAJESTY’S CHILD PIMP, TOMMY LYTTLE TRAFFICKS RICHARD KERR
Richard Kerr was a resident at Kincora Boys’ Home between 1975 and 1977. In September 1976 or thereabouts, Kerr was picked up at Kincora by two men who were driving a Volkswagen vehicle. Since the men used the front compartment boot for storage, they were undoubtedly driving a VW Beetle. Kerr was put in the front passenger seat. He was only 15-years-old yet had been a victim of the Anglo-Irish Vice Ring (A-IVR) – of which Kincora was a part – since he was eight.
The two men drove to a hotel on the Antrim coastline which overlooked the sea. Kerr recalls that it was like a “big old house” with stone statutes of ‘lions or other animals at the front of it with a country road leading up to it’. His driver was called Eddie and the trip seemed to him to have taken a few hours. After the group reached the hotel, Kerr was left waiting in the lobby area while the men went looking for another man. After about 20 minutes they returned with Lyttle and the group set out in the Volkswagen again for another destination. The men addressed Lyttle as “Tommy” openly in front of Kerr. Indeed, it would have been pointless to try to disguise Lyttle’s identity due to his high profile.
Kerr was supplied with a number of glass bottles containing Coca Cola which had been spiked. The effect of the liquid – whatever it contained – was to render him drowsy. He soon “felt out of it but not fully out of it” and began to drift “out of reality like being hypnotised”.
When they reached their destination – a hotel in the “middle of nowhere” – it was still daytime. There was a field to the rear of it. He recalls seeing “cows and sheep” around it. He believes it may have been near Newtownabbey. Kerr was ushered to a small room where he was handed over to an abuser, a man in his 30s with a NI accident who used Northern slang words. Despite his drowsiness, Kerr knew full well what was going to happen to him next. The man asked him to take off his clothes and “things like that”. The rape ordeal that ensued lasted between three and five hours with breaks in between during which Kerr was provided with a sandwich and taken out of the room. Sometimes his abusers gave him gifts to assuage their guilt or in a sick attempt to ingratiate themselves with him. This man gave him nothing.
It was dark by the time the nightmare ended. Kerr was then driven back to Kincora. No stops were made on the return journey. They got back to Kincora at approximately 9.30 pm. Kerr re-entered the premises through the front door and went into the TV room. A number of boys were present. William McGrath, the ‘housefather’ was on duty. The Warden, Joe Mains, who lived at Kincora, was also present. Neither of them asked him a single question about where he had been.
TOMMY’S GOON SHOW
Kincora was a brutal institution. In addition to being passed around to depraved perverts, Kerr was also bullied – and a lot worse – by some of his fellow residents. Some of the friction arose from the fact he was allowed out between Thursday and Sunday although this invariably meant he was being subjected to sex attacks. Kerr must have mentioned this during his road trip with Lyttle because the UDA brigadier sent down two of his “goons” to intimidate the boys who were making life a misery for him at Kincora.
Both Mains and McGrath were present when the ‘goons’ bounded in but did nothing to impede them. The intruders set about terrorising Kerr’s tormentors. Witnesses to this event are still alive. After the intrusion of the two ‘goons’, even McGrath became wary of Kerr. This says a lot because McGrath was someone who was prepared to murder. McGrath was close to Davey Payne – the man who had invented the ‘romper room’ system – and once asked him to kill Roy Garland, the former Deputy Leader of Tara. He wanted Garland killed because he had begun to talk about McGrath’s abuse of boys in 1973.
THE ENGLISHMAN WITH THE SUEDE FLARES
Kerr encountered Tommy Lyttle on one further occasion. Once again he was taken from Kincora to a hotel. This time he was escorted by the two ‘goons’ who had barged into Kincora. Their destination was a bar where they linked up with Lyttle. This time Kerr was destined for a man from the North of England whom he had never met before. He described him as a “nice person”; someone who was “well-dressed’ in a fashionable pair of flared trousers. The flares were made from suede. He remembers this vividly as he got to touch them after the man asked him to remove his trousers as part of the ritual of the abuse of that day. Afterwards, Lyttle and his ‘goons’ returned him back to Kincora.
THE WHIP AND SADDLE BAR AT THE EUROPA HOTEL
Kerr would encounter the UDA ‘goons’ again at the ‘Whip and Saddle’ Bar in the Europa Hotel in Belfast where Mains often brought him to be abused and later secured him a job through his friend Harper Brown, the then manager of the hotel.
Harper Brown manager of the Europa hotel and friend of Joe Mains
The man with the flared trousers turned up at the hotel on at least one night.
The Whip and Saddle was well known in journalistic circles as a venue frequented by Unionist politicians with a sexual interest in juvenile males. Some of the journalists – including some from the Republic – made ribald jokes about the venue, especially by reference to its name.
Kerr would also meet the UDA ‘goons’ at a Loyalist drinking den in Belfast.
THE GIRTON LODGE HOTEL
Lyttle also socialised at the Girton Lodge hotel which was a short walk from Kincora Boys’ Home. Richard Kerr was abused by John McKeague, a notorious Loyalist killer, at the Girton on three or four occasions. As described in an earlier chapter, Kerr would receive a phone call ordering to go down to it, and would then walk down and arrive in about six minutes.
McKeague, Lyttle and their associates would gather at the hotel. There was an area where cars could park out of sight from the road. All the abuse took place on the lower level.
There is no suggestion that Lyttle himself was an abuser. Indeed, no one has ever claimed anything remotely of the sort. He presumably mixed with the likes of McKeague for network and intelligence gathering purposes, something that suited both his UDA and MI5 associates.
As also indicated earlier, Colin Wallace was aware of some of what was going on at the Girton and other hotels. Wallace wrote up and submitted this information to his superiors at British Army HQ NI in 1974 seeking clearance for the disclosure of it to the press. A second hotel was the Park Avenue, a third was called The Queens Court. One of the reasons General Peter Leng, one of the most senior British Army officers in NI in the 1970s, became worried about the Kincora allegations in 1974 was that he had been told that Kincora inmates were being lured into the UDA’s paramilitary activities. He also was aware that the two hotels where allegedly paedophile activities were taking place were also used as meeting places by the Leadership of East Belfast UDA. He also was aware that the Girton and Park Avenue were used as meeting places by the East Belfast UDA. Indeed, the UDA had an office approximately three blocks away.
Was Tommy Lyttle one of the sources of information that reached HQ NI about these hotels?
In September 1975, Wallace was disciplined for allegedly passing a restricted document to a journalist. During his disciplinary hearing, he wrote to his former boss at Army HQ NI referring to “attempts made by the Security Service to discredit various Loyalist politicians, including the Rev Ian Paisley, by linking MPs with Loyalist paramilitary figures involved in homosexual prostitution at children’s homes in Belfast”. Wallace gave copies of these documents to the HIA Inquiry in 2016 though it ignored them. Hart reported in 2017. He concluded that the State did not know about the abuse at Kincora.
Joe Mains, the Warden (i.e. boss) of Kincora was involved in paedophile activities at these hotels too. William McGrath lived very close to it.
TOMMY LYTTLE, A HINT OF REGRET?
John Lyttle, who is gay, has written about the moment when his father “sat on my bed, weeping. I had just reiterated the fact of my sexuality, and my reward was deep and sore sobbing”. The revelation would contribute towards a ‘distance’ between father and son.
Tommy Lyttle’s reaction might have been prompted in part by a measure of guilt about the sexual assaults perpetrated by older men on juvenile males, in which he was complicit.
JAMES MILLER, ANOTHER MI5 AGENT INSIDE THE UDA WHO KNEW ABOUT KINCORA
As shall be described in greater detail later, Albert Baker of the UDA was a British agent who knew about Kincora and says that the entire Inner Council of the UDA did too.
Other pieces from the UDA-Kincora jig-saw have fallen into place in recent years. In the late 1980s James Miller, another ex-British soldier, revealed to journalists that he had served as an MI5 agent inside the UDA. In 2017 the Hart Report stated that MI5 had acknowledged that Miller had been an MI5 agent and someone who knew about the sexual proclivities of William McGrath.
Miller had also spied on McGrath for MI5. Unfortunately, Judge Hart made a calamitous error in his reporting of Miller. As described earlier, he concocted a speculative and nonsensical notion – purely out of his own imagination – in 2017 that MI5 had not reported what Miller told them about McGrath to the RUC – as they were obliged to do by law – because they wanted to protect Miller’s cover. Hart did not even bother to ask MI5 if his theory might be true. Sadly, it was an impossibility because Miller fled NI in 1974 when the UDA discovered his role as a spy. The Kincora scandal was not exposed until 1980. So why did MI5 keep silent between 1974 and 1980? Unfortunately, Hart was not a man to pay attention to detail (as other astonishing mistakes in his report attest). What is worse, is that he took every opportunity to concoct excuses for MI5 while treating victims of abuse such as Richard Kerr with disdain. Beyond question, Hart was a man deeply out of his depth when it came to dealing with the world of dirty tricks. His report – in so far as Kincora is concerned – was a lamentable disaster.
THE SENIOR MI6 OFFICER JAMES ALLAN AND THE ‘RIBALD’ COMMENTS HE SHARED WITH THE UDA ABOUT THE VIOLENT CHILD RAPIST, JOHN DUNLOP McKEAGUE
John McKeague, a long-time associate of William McGrath, was another member of the A-IVR. On 23 May 1975 Andy Tyrie, the Supreme Commander of the UDA – who is still alive – and another UDA commander, John Orchin, held a meeting with James Allan, a senior MI6 officer posing as a civil servant at the NIO. According to declassified British files, during the discussion there were “some ribald discussions of Mr McKeague’s proclivities”. (CJ/43734; also Margaret Urwin, A State in Denial at page 139.) This clearly demonstrates that MI6 and the NIO knew a lot about McKeague’s sexual deviancy. Incredibly, although Urwin’s book came out in 2016 and McKeague featured in the index, Judge Hart ignored the research and the declassified document it was based on. His report emerged in January 2017.
Nor did Hart ask Tyrie to provide an account of the meeting.
TOMMY LYTTLE, BRITISH INTELLIGENCE AND SOUTH AFRICAN GUN RUNNING
Tommy Lyttle told author Greg Harkin that British military intelligence had provided him with assistance in importing arms into NI from South Africa.
There are other indications of the assistance NIO officials afforded to Loyalist gunrunners. In 1977 William McGrath sent a member of Tara called Colin Wyatt to Holland to procure guns for Tara. Wyatt returned home and was debriefed in McGrath’s house by someone McGrath introduced to him as an Under Secretary from the NIO. It was far more likely that the individual was an intelligence officer.
THE UDA PRESS RELEASE, A SHOT ACROSS THE BOWS OF MI5 AND THE NIO
On 21 February, 1982, at the height of claims that Kincora had been transformed into a child brothel by MI5/6, the UDA told the media that its eight-man Executive Committee was scheduled to meet the following day to decide whether or not to publish documents naming Unionist politicians involved in Kincora in its newspaper. The Belfast Newsletter reported a UDA spokesman who referred to a ‘wave of revulsion throughout Ulster about this case and people want to make sure that it never happens again. … Innocent people could be under a cloud of suspicion and may remain so until the names are released.”
The UDA never released a single name. Tommy Lyttle, who was still a brigadier of the UDA at this time, knew that an effective inquiry would expose his name once the Kincora boys were interviewed (not as an abuser, rather a trafficker). In reality the statement was a warning shot aimed at MI5 and the NIO to ensure that the matter was covered-up.
Unfortunately, the Hart Inquiry did not secure evidence from the UDA, (not even from Albert Baker who was interviewed by Ken Livingstone for his 1989 book, “Livingstone’s Labour” which will be discussed later.)
THE TRUTH IS A VOLATILE SUBSTANCE, WILLIAM McGRATH SPILLS THE BEANS ON MI5 TO JOHN McMICHAEL
Some Loyalist paramilitaries decided they would assassinate McGrath when he got out of prison. However, John McMichael, the UDA’s South Belfast Brigadier, ensured they didn’t, perhaps in return for McGrath having spilled the beans to him about what had really happened at Kincora. McGrath might have told him about Lyttle’s role in the scandal. McMichael was assassinated aged 39 by a car bomb in 1987.
McMichael believed Lyttle was a British agent. He shared his suspicions with his colleague Michael Stone, the Milltown Cemetery bomber. According to Stone: ‘McMichael constantly warned me about Tucker Lyttle and on this particular night he took the time to ram the point home. I distinctly remember him saying, “Tucker is a tout, so never tell him anything, don’t befriend him and keep him away from your UDA business”. He knew Lyttle had Special Branch handlers and was the weakest link in the UDA’s Inner Council. Also, he knew that Lyttle had a better and more intimate working relationship with the Special Branch handlers than his Loyalist associates. McMichael wasn’t telling me anything I hadn’t discovered for myself. I had first-hand experience of Tucker the Traitor”. (p.98)
McMichael was killed by a bomb planted in his car on 22 December 1987. The Provisional IRA claimed responsibility. Ever since his death, rumours have abounded that the IRA was assisted by McMichael’s enemies inside the UDA with James Pratt Craig and Tommy Lyttle cited as conspirators. No hard evidence has emerged one way or the other.
TOMMY LYTTLE ASSUMES CONTROL OF A HIGH SECURITY PRISON
After the Milltown Cemetery bombing during which Stone attempted to assassinate Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams while they attended the funerals of IRA members who had been killed in Gibraltar by the SAS, Lyttle visited Stone in prison. Amazingly, Lyttle managed to cancel all other visits to the prison and secured exclusive use of the visiting centre for an exclusive interrogation of Stone. He demanded that Stone tell him the names of those on the Inner Council who had approved the Milltown Cemetery attack. Stone refused and came away more convinced than ever that Lyttle was a British agent. How else could he have managed to gain control of what was taking place inside the prison?
TOMMY LYTTLE AND THE FINUCANE ASSASSINATION
Tommy Lyttle remained in place as a British spy inside the UDA after the killing of John McMichael. He would become central to the 1989 murder of Patrick Finucane, something that was organised in tandem with the RUCSB and MI5. The guiding hand of MI5 is the reason that Theresa May would not allow a sworn judicial inquiry into the Finucane murder when she was Home Secretary and as PM. Her lack of integrity was demonstrated after she persisted in this stance after the ruling of the Supreme Court in London on 27 February 2019. Her action was tantamount to being an accessory after the fact, politically at least.
There is no controversy about the fact that Tommy Lyttle – a British agent – issued the kill order. Indeed, we even know how he felt about it. According to the UDA’s Supreme Commander, Andy Tyrie, Lyttle was fearful that if he gave the order, he would become a target of IRA retaliation. Lyttle’s concerns are consistent with the fact that pressure was being placed on his shoulders by someone in control of him. Who else but MI5 could fill that role?
THE MURDEROUS ROLE OF BRIAN NELSON, FRU-MI5 AGENT
The intelligence provided for the Finucane assassination was supplied by Brian Nelson, the UDA’s then Chief of Intelligence. Nelson was a sadist who, for example, beat, tortured and electrocuted a man called Jerry Higgins. (Stakeknife p.171)
FRU whistle-blower Ian Hurst has revealed that it was Lyttle who ordered Nelson to compile the targeting information on Finucane.
Nelson was later arrested by a team led by Sir John Stevens, then serving as Deputy Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire. Stevens had been charged with investigating British State collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries. Stevens’ team confiscated Nelson’s files which contained various incriminating documents and photographs based on information supplied to him by the FRU. Nelson was put on trial for his part in the murder of various Republicans in 1992. His links to the FRU were acknowledged during the trial by no less a figure than Brigadier Gordon Kerr, the Head of the FRU.
Nelson pleaded guilty to 20 charges including five of conspiracy to murder in 1992 and was sentenced to 10 years. After his release, he disappeared. He apparently died from a brain haemorrhage aged 55 on 11 April 2011 but we only have MI5’s word for this.
QUARTERMASTER WILLIAM STOBIE OF THE UDA IS MURDERED
The gun which killed Finucane was supplied by Williams Stobie, a UDA quartermaster who was also a British agent, something he admitted to author Greg Harkin who wrote ‘Stakeknife’.
In 1992 Stobie’s role as a British agent led to an attempt on his life by his erstwhile colleagues, or at least this was the story the RUCSB put about. Stobie was taken to an alleyway where he was shot five times in the back and legs but somehow managed to escape. His death would have been a godsend for MI5.
In April 1999 he was arrested by the Stevens’ team and charged with Finucane’s murder. The charge was later changed to aiding and abetting the murder. The trial fell apart after Neil Mulholland, the then NIO press officer, refused to take to the witness stand.
In 2001 Stobie let it be known that he was willing to testify at an enquiry into the Finucane murder and that while he would name his RUCSB “handlers”, he would not name any Loyalists. On 12 December 2001 he was shot dead outside his house.
UDA HITMAN BARRET SERVES 2 YEARS OF A 22 YEAR SENTENCE
The door of the Finucane family home was sledgehammered apart by two masked assassins while a third waited outside in a car. Ken Barret was part of the hit team. One of the gunmen shot Finucane in front of his family, 14 times. Barret later told the BBC’s Panorama programme that RUCSB officers had encouraged him to kill Finucane. The RUCSB is controlled by MI5.
During the turmoil created by the arrests made by the Stevens’ team, Ken Barrett, rose briefly to become acting West Belfast Brigadier but in May 2003 he was arrested for the Finucane killing by Stevens. In September 2004 Barrett pleaded guilty to Finucane’s murder although there is some controversy about the precise role he played in it – driver or gunman. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that he serve a minimum of 22 years. He was released in May 2006 after serving two years and has since disappeared.
LYTTLE TELLS HIS SON, “FUCKIN’ MI5 – THEY SET IT UP, GOT CORNERED AND RAN”
By late 1989 or early 1990 the ‘Young Turks’ inside the UDA were withholding information from Lyttle “because he was thought to be not reliable” according to one of then quoted in Peter Taylor’s book Loyalists (p209)
According to Michael Stone, “Tucker had a secret. He was a Special Branch informer and had several handlers. He cosied up to his RUC bosses and sold out his Loyalist brothers. To those of us who knew him, he was affectionately known as ‘Tucker the Fucker’. He was despised for bringing the Loyalist cause into disrepute with his covert relationship with the RUC”. (Stone p. 105)
The UDA had been using files containing State information to target IRA members for assassination.
As Stone has written, Lyttle “brought the full force of a major police investigation on the UDA” in 1989 when he “tried to justify the shooting of a Catholic man by passing a security-forces intelligence file to journalists…The outcry led to the establishment of the Stevens Inquiry to investigate collusion between the security forces and Loyalist paramilitaries. A year later [Lyttle] was arrested after his fingerprint was found on one of the restricted files”. (107)
Lyttle was charged with receiving and passing unclassified security force intelligence files and intimidating potential witnesses.
Some of the security files had also been hung on walls in Belfast to justify the murders.
Lyttle’s arrest took place in January 1990.
Lyttle was hauled up before Belfast’s Crumlin Road Court. His son John has written about how, ‘Policemen with machine guns haunt the back of the court as the prosecution rehearses the reasons bail should be denied to this “dangerous man”. The inquiry, being conducted by Chief Detective Inspector John Stevens into RUC and loyalist paramilitary collusion in the murder of suspected IRA terrorists, is still proceeding. Mr Lyttle, m’lud, has been accused of receiving and passing on classified security force intelligence files (“Fuckin’ MI5 – they set it up, got cornered and ran,” my father will later laugh), which is a serious charge. Quite as serious, it seems, as Mr Lyttle’s likely attempts to interfere with potential witnesses”.
Lyttle later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six years.
Lyttle did not spill the beans on MI5 in open court. He continued to keep his mouth shut about MI5 and was released in 1994 on remission. Upon his release, he was summoned to appear before the Inner Council and admitted having worked for the RUCSB but excused himself on the basis that his relationship had been to benefit of the UDA, as indeed it had.
Lyttle must have become angry at “fucking MI5” because he spoke to Greg Harkin, co-author of the book Stakeknife who went on to report that it ‘was Lyttle who ordered the murder of Mr Finucane’. Harkin adds that Lyttle, ‘was also the source of my story in 1990 exposing Brian Nelson’s existence and his subsequent arrest by the first Stevens Inquiry.’ Harkin also reported that Nelson had been ‘summonsed to Lyttle’s home in Sydney Street West and told to prepare a file on the lawyer’.
“When [Nelson] reported back to his [FRU] handlers’, Harkin has revealed, ‘rather than discourage him from taking on the operation FRU members actively encouraged him to go ahead and gave him every possible assistance. They provided photographs and map details of Mr Finucane’s home off the city’s Antrim Road. But even more alarmingly, two different handlers were involved in THREE separate reconnaissance missions at the Finucane family home’’.
Harkin also learnt that an ‘experienced FRU officer accompanied Nelson on two car trips to the street. Another officer, posing alongside Nelson as window cleaners, offered their ‘services’ to Mr Finucane’s neighbour so they could check out the rear of their target’s home. Mr Finucane didn’t stand a chance’.
THE DEATH OF TOMMY LYTTLE
Lyttle died on 18 October 1995, aged only 56 after a massive heart attack while playing pool in Millisle. Michael Stone recalls at the time ‘the young Johnny Adair was in charge of the UDA’s C Company in the Lower Shankill, and his battalion placed [a death notice] as coming from Tucker’s ‘friends in Tennent Street and Ladas Drive’, two well-known Belfast RUC stations’. (109)
DAVID CAMERON, THE FINGER WAVING IMPOTENT PRIME MINISTER
As described above, in 2011 PM David Cameron’s Director of Security and Intelligence, Ciaran Martin, privately warned Cameron that senior members of Margaret Thatcher’s government may have been aware of what he cautiously described as “a systemic problem with loyalist agents” at the time of Finucane’s assassination and that nothing had been done about it.
The Finucane murder was investigated by the Stevens Inquiry after which a review of the evidence was conducted by Peter Cory, a retired Canadian judge who recommended a full-blown public inquiry. Tony Blair indicated his support for just such an inquiry.
The Finucane family met Cameron in Downing Street on 11 October 2011. In a moment of rare candour, Cameron disclosed that there were powerful people around him – clearly more powerful than even he was in the realms of the dark world of intelligence – who were preventing a full-scale inquiry.
Instead of an inquiry, a review of the Stevens and Cory casefiles was ordered. It was conducted by Sir Desmond de Silva QC. It was released on 12 December 2012 and documented extensive evidence of State collaboration with Loyalist gunmen, including the selection of murder targets, and concluded that “there was a wilful and abject failure by successive governments to provide the clear policy and legal framework necessary for agent-handling operations to take place effectively within the law’. Significantly, however, de Silva concluded that there had not been a high-level conspiracy. The Finucane’s family denounced the Review as a “sham” and a “suppression of the truth”.
Cameron responded by referring to the “shocking levels of collusion” outlined by de Silva. Still, there was not going to be an inquiry.
Theresa May was Home Secretary at this time and undoubtedly knows who inside the Home Office wanted to suppress the inquiry.
DOUGLAS HOGG’s ILLOGICAL AND INCENDIARY REMARKS
The ‘whack Finucane’ discussion with Lyttle’s RUCSB handler took place in the wake of inflammatory remarks made by Douglas Hogg, then a Tory Home Office minister, in the House of Commons. Hogg stated that “some solicitors were unduly sympathetic to the cause of the IRA”. A rather obvious point presumably never occurred to Hogg: without lawyers who are prepared to appear for defendants, it would be impossible to hold trials and all sorts of criminals would walk free. Did Hogg think that any lawyer who took on the defence of an individual should do anything less than his or her level best? Did he think the lawyers who acted for the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four in the 1970s – when everyone thought they were guilty – were also “unduly sympathetic”?
Hogg was hardly so bereft of intelligence that he made these remarks knowing that a hit against Finucane was in the works. It is more likely he was used as a pawn by MI5 to create an atmosphere conducive to the hit. Indeed, after the murder, he was blamed for inflaming Loyalist anger whereby the murder looked like it was an outburst by hot heads and not a calculated plot masterminded by cold minds.
Hogg was promoted by Thatcher the following year to Minister of State at the Foreign Office. David Cameron made him a life peer in 2015 and he now sits in the House of Lords.
THE MAN WHO CALLED THE SHOTS, SIR PATRICK WALKER KCB, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF MI5, 1987-92
In 1989 MI5 was led by Patrick Walker. Before he became top gun, he had served in NI and as Head of MI5’s counter-terrorism unit.
The Finucane family has repeatedly called for a full judicial inquiry into the assassination of Patrick Finucane. TPatrick Walker, the former D-G of MI5 at the time of the murder he organised is still alive. he cabinet level documentation Judge Cory came across is probably still in existence.
If a full-blow judicial inquiry is established as a result of the Supreme Court decision of February 2019, the questions it will have to address include the following:
- What information is contained in the Cabinet level document Judge Cory told Geraldine Finucane about?;
- What is in Tommy Lyttle’s MI5, MI6 and RUC files?;
- What is in the MI5, MI6 and RUC files of William Stobie, Ken Barret and Brian Nelson?;
- Is it possible that the RUCSB and the MI5 Station in Belfast arranged the slaying of Finucane behind Walker’s back?;
- If Walker was involved, would he have acted behind the back of his superiors in Downing Street?;
- Is there a paper trail which traces the root of advice which prompted Douglas Hogg’s statement about unduly sympathetic lawyers in Northern Ireland?;
- Who placed pressure on Blair, Cameron and May not to call a full judicial inquiry, and why did they so act?
A properly run full inquiry also has the potential to unravel Lyttle’s entire history as a British agent including his sordid role in Kincora by simply reviewing his file.
THE HONEST EX-RUC OFFICERS WHO ARE SUING THE PSNI
There were some officers in the RUC who stood up to the malign influence of MI5 in the cover-up of the Finucane assassination. Foremost was Alan Simpson who led the RUC investigation into the atrocity. Simpson’s team included Trevor McIlwrath and Johnston Brown, two men with a similar mindset as him. In 2015 all three instigated proceedings in the High Court in Belfast against the PSNI, the successor organisation to the RUC. The basis of their claim – which has yet to come to court – is that the RUC obstructed the Finucane investigation to perpetrate a cover-up of a conspiracy to murder him in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Straight cops: Johnston Brown and his book; Trevor McIlwrath and Alan Simpson.
Simpson has revealed that within days of the assassination a senior RUC officer warned him not to get “too deeply involved in this one”.
In addition, they were fed misleading information about suspects. “I do not need Special Branch coming up and organising one (murder) and then standing in a room with me keeping quiet and all the time knowing the true facts and leading me astray.”
Simpson has said that he has been left with a “deep sense of betrayal”.
Johnston Brown has written a book Into the Dark which provides his account of the scandal
Further reading: various books which may be of interest to readers who wish to learn more about the Finucane murder.
Chapters 1 – 3 can be accessed at: https://villagemagazine.ie/https-villagemagazine-ie-anglo-irish-vice-ring-online-book/
Chapters 4 – 7 can be accessed at: https://villagemagazine.ie/the-anglo-irish-vice-ring-chapters-4-7/
Chapters 8 – 10 can be accessed at:https://villagemagazine.ie/the-anglo-irish-vice-ring-chapters-8-10/
Chapters 11 – 13 can be accessed at: https://villagemagazine.ie/the-anglo-irish-vice-ring-chapters-11-13/
Chapters 14 – 18 can be accessed at: https://villagemagazine.ie/anglo-irish-vice-ring-chapters-14-18/
Chapters 19 – 24 can be accessed at: https://villagemagazine.ie/anglo-irish-vice-ring-chapters-19-24/