Posted by: the watchmen | February 5, 2009

Police knew that Billy Wright was to be murdered.

InRegister’Special Branch knew of Wright murder plot’

Billy Wright was murdered inside the Maze Prison

05 February 2009
THE Billy Wright Inquiry has been told the PSNI has now admitted Special Branch officers knew the INLA was plotting to murder the LVF leader at the Maze prison in 1997.
The startling revelation came to light as the former head of MI5’s Assessment’s Group in Northern Ireland (witness HAG) gave evidence to the Wright Inquiry earlier this week

Until now police have always denied Special Branch received intelligence information from the Security Service MI5 in April 1997 warning the INLA intended to kill Billy Wright at the first opportunity if he were to be transferred to H Block 6 at the Maze.

MI5 told police the most likely method of attack was the use of a hypodermic syringe filled with poison.

The Security Service said INLA prisoners at the Maze were in possession of syringes and poison and that the terror group’s leadership was aware of the threat to kill Wright.

MI5 records show the intelligence information was first passed orally to Special Branch officers on April 21, 1997, and confirmed by telex the following day.

Details of the INLA threat to Billy Wright was also sent to a number of senior officers at Special Branch headquarters in an intelligence report dated April 24, 1997.

Despite the existence of the MI5 records, police have previously denied having been warned the INLA intended to kill Wright.

Now, in a remarkable “U-turn” the Wright Inquiry has been told the PSNI has now admitted evidence exists within its record system which shows police did receive details of the INLA threat to Billy Wright’s life in April 1997.

However, the PSNI could not tell the inquiry how or when the threat had been received. Police were also unable to identify the Special Branch officer who had received the intelligence information from MI5.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay is expected to be questioned about the Special Branch intelligence record system when he appears at the Wright Inquiry tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Wright Inquiry has heard Special Branch officers wanted to “bug” Billy Wright’s visits at the Maze prison.

Witness HAG told the inquiry panel that in mid-1997 a senior Special Branch officer asked him about the possibility of installing covert listening devices in the LVF visits area at the Maze.

He said Special Branch believed Wright was directing terrorism from the Maze and asked if he (HAG) would set up a meeting with the then Prison Service boss Alan Shannon to discuss the eavesdropping operation.

The witness told the inquiry he had no further contact with Special Branch after the meeting with Mr Shannon.

Witness HAG said he did not know if the covert “bugging” operation was ever carried out.

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