Stakeknife detective says: Nobody is above the law

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The conviction of Freddie Scappaticci for possessing extreme pornography shows nobody is above the law, the officer leading the independent Stakeknife probe said.

In 2003, Stakeknife was widely named as west Belfast man Scappaticci, 72, but he has always strongly denied the allegation.

Earlier this month he avoided prison after admitting two unrelated charges.

The chief constable of Bedfordshire police, Jon Boutcher, said Operation Kenova investigators were dealing with people fairly.

He added: “If anybody tries to suppress evidence, if anyone tries to stop us doing what we legally should be doing, I will deal with it, I will use the rule of law to deal with that.

“When we recently convicted somebody because of things that we found on that person’s computer, again here there was a negativity about that prosecution and conviction, is that all that Kenova are doing.

“The way I would view any such conviction is a demonstration that nobody is above the law, no-one has got immunity.

“That is how we deal with people, it does not matter who they are.”

Scappaticci was convicted after material was seized as part of Operation Kenova, the wide-ranging investigation which was launched in June 2016 to investigate allegations of serious criminal activity during The Troubles.

Westminster Magistrates’ Court stock
Freddie Scappaticci admitted charges at Westminster Magistrates Court which related to at least 329 images, including those involving animals.

The defendant conducted a number of computer searches on a total of 13 different days between November 2015 and January 2018, a court was told.

He was arrested by police in January about offences including murder and abduction, but later released on bail.

Mr Boutcher added: “We deal with them with great care but if they break the law we will prosecute them for that and hopefully people will begin to realise that.”

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