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3 April 2004. Thanks to O.

Excerpted from: Cory Collusion Inquiry Report, April 1, 2004

More on the murderous FRU:


[pp. 18-41]

The Government intelligence network

1.29 It is the duty of any Government to protect its citizens from criminal acts of violence. That protection should extend to all citizens whatever their colour or creed. In order to provide that protection within the United Kingdom, the Government, in the best of good faith, set up systems of reconnaissance and intelligence gathering undoubtedly because it was thought that it was only by these means that the security of citizens could be assured. As a result of the emergency situation which existed in Northern Ireland, there was a need for Governmental agencies whether Army or Police to gather information. Thus it should come as no surprise that the RUC and the Army employed agents in order to gather information that would assist them in their efforts to combat violence and save lives. Ideally those systems of intelligence would be required to abide by specific guidelines that would set out the limits of permitted intrusiveness and the requisite degree of control of agents. If agents are not adequately controlled and prohibited from committing criminal acts they will increase, not decrease, the level of homicidal violence.

1.30 In light of the existing scale of violence, it is evident that the Government of the United Kingdom had to take steps to protect its citizens. However, apart from the necessary exceptions that must exist during times of war, it is the paramount duty of any Government to establish and maintain the rule of law and to ensure that no one is above the law. This is a fundamental and requisite principle of democratic Government. Accordingly, the need to gather intelligence cannot justify providing a mantle of protection to those who are parties to murder.

1.31 At the time of the Finucane murder, the Army conducted its intelligence operations through the FRU, which was established in 1982. The name of the unit was changed in 1991, though, for purposes of this report, the unit will consistently be referred to as FRU. According to one soldier working in FRU, the mandate of the unit was “to save life, protect people and property, and defeat terrorists”4. One of the chief means used to attain these goals was the gathering of information from agents who had successfully infiltrated paramilitary organizations. The Commanding Officer FRU (CO FRU) exercised authority over the unit, although he reported to others in the chain of military command.


4 Statement of Soldier “Z”, OC East Detachment FRU from November 1987-September 1990, made 10 December 1990

1.32 The RUC, through its Special Branch (SB), occupied a superior position in the intelligence network. SB ran its own agents and also collected intelligence from external agencies, such as FRU. SB was responsible for disseminating incoming intelligence to appropriate agencies. More importantly, it was also responsible for determining what, if any, action should be taken as a result of information received. Within Northern Ireland, the RUC SB assumed a degree of primacy in matters of intelligence. According to Officer I, who was the Deputy Head of SB between September, 1987 and December, 1989: “The RUC SB, consistent with HMG policy in Northern Ireland, did take the lead in exploitation and or the use of all intelligence from whatever source”.5 If incoming intelligence was determined to be sufficiently important, it was recorded in the SB “Intelligence Book”. A separate volume, the SB “Threats Book” identified persons whose lives were in jeopardy, and recorded any action taken to respond to or divert the threat. The Head of Special Branch (HSB) maintained general authority over the unit, with assistance from Regional Heads situated in Belfast (Castlereagh), the South (Armagh) and the North (Londonderry). Special Branch was sometimes referred to as “E” Department. Since 2001, law enforcement responsibilities in Northern Ireland have been carried out by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).


5 Statement of Officer I, dated 16 January 1990

1.33 Finally, the Security Service (SS) discharged several important functions within the intelligence community. Like FRU and SB, SS collected intelligence directly through its own agents. It also exercised a supervisory role aimed at coordinating the intelligence efforts of the various agencies working within the region. The Director and Coordinator of Intelligence (DCI) stationed at Stormont, had ultimate responsibility for policy, direction and coordination of intelligence work undertaken within Northern Ireland. Under the authority of the DCI, representatives of the Security Service worked with both FRU and RUC SB. However, the Security Service representatives did not, as a general rule, become involved in the day-to-day intelligence operations of those agencies.

1.34 Before dealing with these agencies in greater detail it may be helpful to set out my definition of collusion as it relates to the actions of these agencies.

Definition of collusion

1.35 How should collusion be defined? Synonyms that are frequently given for the verb to collude include: to conspire; to connive; to collaborate; to plot; and to scheme.

1.36 The verb connive is defined as to deliberately ignore; to overlook; to disregard; to pass over; to take no notice of; to turn a blind eye; to wink; to excuse; to condone; to look the other way; to let something ride; see for example the Oxford Compact Thesaurus Second Edition 2001.

1.37 Similarly the Webster dictionary defines the verb collude in this way: to connive with another: conspire, plot.

1.38 It defines the verb connive

1. to pretend ignorance or unawareness of something one ought morally, or officially or legally to oppose; to fail to take action against a known wrongdoing or misbehaviour – usually used with connive at the violation of a law.

2. (a) to be indulgent, tolerant or secretly in favour or sympathy;

(b) wink at youthful follies;

(c) to cooperate secretly: to have a secret understanding.

1.39 In the narrower context how should collusion be defined for the purposes of this inquiry? At the outset it should be recognised that members of the public must have confidence in the actions of Governmental agencies, particularly those of the army and the police force. There cannot be public confidence in Government agencies that are guilty of collusion or connivance in serious crimes. Because of the necessity for public confidence in the army and police, the definition of collusion must be reasonably broad when it is applied to actions of these agencies. This is to say that army and police forces must not act collusively by ignoring or turning a blind eye to the wrongful acts of their servants or agents or supplying information to assist them in their wrongful acts or encouraging them to commit wrongful acts. Any lesser definition would have the effect of condoning, or even encouraging, state involvement in crimes, thereby shattering all public confidence in these important agencies.

1.40 In determining whether there are indications of state collusion in the murder of Patrick Finucane, it is important to look at the issue from two perspectives. First, it must be seen whether the documents indicate that the action or inaction of Government agencies might have directly contributed to the killing of Patrick Finucane by the Ulster Defence Association (UDA). Secondly it is necessary to examine collusive acts which may have indirectly contributed to the killing, by generally facilitating the terrorist activities of the UDA. That is, the evidence may reveal a pattern of behaviour by a Government agency that comes within the definition of collusion. This evidence may add to and form part of the cumulative effect which emerges from a reading of the documents. Both perspectives will be considered in determining whether the evidence indicates that there have been acts of collusion by Government agencies.

The Force Research Unit (FRU)

1.41 At the outset it may be helpful to describe in very simple terms the documents used by Army (ie FRU) personnel to record, comment upon and inform RUC SB and Security Service of the activities of agents and the information acquired from them. The one that will be most frequently referred to is a Contact Form (CF). This was used whenever an Agent met his Army handler or handlers. It recorded the information provided by the agent together with the handler’s comments. If the Agent telephoned his handlers, the conversation was recorded on a Telephone Contact Form (TCF). The information the Army considered most pertinent and useful was then set out in a document entitled Military Intelligence Source Report (MISR). Copies of MISRs were sent to RUC (SB). There were, as well, daily meetings involving members of FRU and RUC Special Branch. At that time the content of CFs and TCFs might be discussed.

A. Nature of CFs and TCFs and Source Reports

1.42 In the Army (FRU), CFs and TCFs constituted the complete daily or weekly records of the intelligence gathered from agents. Within RUC SB, Source Reports were used to record this information. These documents are akin to the daily or weekly business records of commercial companies that are routinely used as evidence of the business conducted by those companies. CFs, TCFs and Source Reports report the state of intelligence gathering in FRU and RUC SB at any particular time.

1.43 These are current records which would not be kept if they were not considered to be important or significant. They can, I believe, be relied upon as an indication of the intelligence gathered from agents and thus the knowledge of FRU and RUC SB at any particular time. They are a significant part of the material I must work with in reaching my conclusions.

1.44 Similarly gaps, omissions, or deviations from the ordinary pattern of intelligence gathering activities may become significant in drawing inferences from the written material.

B. Brian Nelson

i. Recruitment and re-recruitment

1.45 In 1985 Brian Nelson walked in off the street to offer his services to the Army as an agent. He had previously served in the British Army. He had once been convicted of a terrorist offence. Nevertheless he was accepted and started to work as an agent for the FRU. At this time he was a member of the UDA and acting as an Intelligence Officer for that organisation in West Belfast.

1.46 There are two worrisome aspects of Nelson’s first tour of duty as an agent in 1985-86. First, Nelson reported that he had, of his own volition, provided intelligence not to the UDA but to the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF)6. He stated if anything was to be done about “these two people (possible targets) UVF would do it”. The second involved his work in the targeting and shooting of Target D on 27 September 1985. Nelson advised his handlers that he was required by an executive of the UDA to provide a target from among the Sinn Fein councillors7. Nelson also stated that he was told the final choice was his. As it turned out, Loyalist H (a high-ranking UDA member) may have given the name of Target D, a member of Sinn Fein, to Nelson8. In any event, Target D was clearly identified as a UDA target9. According to later reports, UDA members were told that they were going to have to start acting on the targeting information and specifically on Target D as one of the three Sinn Fein members targeted.10


6 CF 2 May 1985

7 CF 1 August 1985

8 CF 8 August 1985

9 MISR 8 August 1985

10 CF 16 August 1985; CF 29 August 1985; MISR 13 September 1985; CF 19 September 1985; MISR 19 September 1985

1.47 Despite these numerous references to the targeting of Target D, no warning was given to him. He was shot at his home on 27 September 1985. Although he was seriously  wounded, Target D survived the attack. The extent of Nelson’s involvement in the targeting of Target D may well have made him a party to the attempted murder.

1.48 In 1986 Nelson left Northern Ireland to go to Germany with his family. His aim was to break his links both with the paramilitary organisations and with FRU.

1.49 Despite his earlier questionable activities, the Army (FRU) took steps to bring Brian Nelson back as an agent in 1987. It was hoped that he would acquire the position of intelligence officer for UDA/Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF). Army personnel went to Germany and spoke to Nelson. He was told that a house would be provided for him and that he would receive an income of £200 per week for his services as an agent. Eventually the terms were agreed upon and Nelson returned to Northern Ireland.

1.50 There was controversy surrounding his re-engagement from the beginning. It is the Army’s position that he was engaged with the knowledge and approval of the Security Service. However Security Service states that it did not approve of Nelson’s rerecruitment and, in fact, voiced its disapproval. There are also differences between these two agencies as to the payment of Nelson. The Army was of the view that the agents were paid for by the Security Service whereas that branch of Government has always taken the position that Army agents were paid by the Army. Despite the position of the Security Service that it objected to the rehiring of Nelson it appears from certain documents that the Security Service would conditionally approve his hiring if Nelson obtained the position of Intelligence Officer for UDA.11


11 “Loose minutes” prepared by a Security Service officer with the role of ASP (Assistant Secretary Political), dated 19 February 1987; 2 March 1987

1.51 It was not long after his return that Nelson did indeed gain the position of intelligence officer for the UDA in Belfast. His responsibilities gradually increased until he had a significant role to play as an intelligence officer for the entire province.

1.52 It will be necessary to review in some detail the work undertaken by Nelson in order to demonstrate the trust and confidence placed in him by the Army, the breadth of his role as an intelligence officer, and the extent of his activities that could be classified as criminal.

ii. South African arms transaction

1.53 The Army appears to have at least encouraged Nelson in his attempt to purchase arms in South Africa for the UDA. Nelson certainly went to South Africa in 1985 to meet an arms dealer. His expenses were paid by FRU. The Army appears to have been  committed to facilitating Nelson’s acquisition of weapons, with the intention that they  would be intercepted at some point en route to Northern Ireland.12


12 CF 24 July 1985

1.54 Whether the transaction was consummated remains an open question, although, in September 1985, Nelson reported to his handlers that the deal fell through due to the inability of the UDA to raise the necessary funds for the purchase.13 The evidence with regard to the completion of the arms transaction is frail and contradictory. In any event, it is not necessary to go into any great detail with regard to the result. I mention the proposed transaction simply as an indication of the trust that had been reposed in Nelson by FRU.


13 CF 5 September 1985; CF 27 September 1985

iii. Nelson as UDA intelligence officer

(a) Creation and dissemination of “P” Cards

1.55 Before reviewing Nelson’s targeting activities it will be helpful to consider some of the projects he undertook in his role as an Intelligence Officer in the UDA.

1.56 Brian Nelson gave several statements under caution following his arrest in 1990. Among other things, Nelson spoke at length about the creation, use, and dissemination of what came to be known as “P” cards or “personality cards”. These cards served as the primary source material for the UDA. They were used to facilitate the targeting of individuals that were marked for attack. During the period that he was the Senior Intelligence Officer, Nelson collected, augmented and maintained a vast collection of “P” cards which, together with other material, comprised Nelson’s “intelligence (or intell) dump”.

1.57 Nelson became involved in the creation and dissemination of “P” cards following his re-recruitment in 1987. As the Senior Intelligence Officer, it was Nelson’s responsibility to build up an efficient intelligence network that would allow the organisation to target known Republicans for possible attack.14 Upon his return from Germany, the UDA provided him with a large cardboard egg box containing documents and photomontages relating to known PIRA, INLA and Sinn Fein personalities. This raw material served as the starting point for Nelson. He acquired hundreds of blank index cards and then collated and organised the intelligence data. One card was assigned to each individual. Nelson would record personal details including physical descriptions, addresses, and any other pertinent facts. If a photograph was available from a montage or other source, he would staple it to the card. Later, information concerning these targets was recorded in the UDA computer.


14 This is confirmed by CF 7 September 1987 item 6.

1.58 Over time, old “P” cards were updated and new cards were created. Ultimately, the collection became “an index system of intelligence on all Republican personalities.”15 To maintain the system, Nelson relied upon various items of information, including radio transmissions, electoral registers and Republican newspapers. However, his primary source material consisted of photo montages and handwritten information acquired from either the Military or the RUC. In his 1990 statement, Nelson estimated that approximately 90% of the material he worked with had come from the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).


15 Statements of Brian Nelson, 1990

1.59 “P” cards were freely disseminated within the UDA. Nelson would provide the cards to UDA officials who were inquiring about specific targets. On various occasions, Nelson provided a large quantity of cards to persons involved in the planning and execution of attacks on UDA targets. For example, Nelson reported that, in the summer of 1989, Loyalist J asked for “P” cards on all Sinn Fein members in Belfast. On another occasion, Nelson provided 40 “P” cards to Loyalist B, including one pertaining to Target G. There can be little doubt that the information contained on the “P” cards, including the photo montages, was of considerable value to those who planned “close quarter attacks” (CQAs).

1.60 Nelson’s statements regarding the creation and dissemination of “P” cards are confirmed in several respects by the CFs maintained by FRU.16 In his statement, Nelson asserted that Military Intelligence was advised whenever he received  montages or other intelligence information. According to Nelson, FRU kept photocopies of his “P” cards, and knew that these documents were being turned over to other members of the UDA. From the CFs it can be seen that Nelson’s handlers were well aware of all his activities pertaining to the personality cards.


16 CF 14 September 1987; CF 26 October 1987; CF 31 March 1988; CF 23 May 1988; CF 27 July 1988

iv. Targeting

1.61 After Nelson’s re-recruitment there is no doubt that FRU understood that he was targeting individuals for the UDA and that this was his prime function. In February 1989, (just six days before Patrick Finucane’s murder), Nelson’s handler noted that “Nelson initiates most of the targeting, although it is often unclear when the targeting has been completed and an attack is to take place. Of late, Nelson has been more organised and he is currently running an operation against selected Republican personalities”.17


17 CF 6 February 1989

1.62 It is unnecessary to list all the instances in which Nelson was involved in targeting various persons. However, it is helpful to look at some of the incidents that occurred either prior to the murder of Patrick Finucane or shortly thereafter.

(a) The murder of Terence McDaid

1.63 In September 1987 Nelson was targeting Declan McDaid.18 Various CFs recorded during September, November and December 1987 confirm that the UDA was targeting Declan McDaid and preparing to murder him.19


18 CF 23 September 1987

19 CF 25 September 1987; CF 29 September 1987; TCF 27 November 1987; CF 1 December 1987; MISR 1 December 1987

1.64 The documentation in Nelson’s possession showed the address of Declan McDaid to be [address redacted]. Documents indicate that, in the spring of 1988 Nelson, (with a UDA colleague Loyalist F) carried out a reconnaissance at that address.20


20 CF 19 April 1988; MISR 19 April 1988

1.65 Nelson later went to the library and apparently got the address of [address redacted] for a Maura McDaid. He then wrote [address redacted] on the index card pertaining to Declan McDaid. He also noted that Declan was possibly staying at that address. The [address redacted] address was, however, that of Terence McDaid, Declan’s brother. Thus, Nelson inadvertently began to target Terence as a result of the error in the address. Nelson then gave the particulars of the home address of Terence McDaid to Loyalist F of the UFF with the result that the hit team sent to assassinate Declan McDaid killed Terence on 10 May 1988.

1.66 Nelson was later charged with the murder of Terence McDaid. In 1990 he entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to murder Declan McDaid and received a sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. (See Appendix 2) Although Declan McDaid was known to be a target as early as September 1987, he was never given any warning by the RUC and certainly his brother Terence received no warning.

(b) The shooting of Target E and the targeting of Target F

1.67 Nelson reported in August 1987 that Target F was to be hit soon.21 He was carrying out surveillance on Target F with Loyalist J and reported that there was a high degree of activity on this target.22


21 MISR 4 August 1987

22 MISR 18 August 1987

1.68 Later Loyalist F apparently took over the targeting of both [name redacted] brothers, Target E and Target F, and asked Nelson for all his information on them.23


23 CF 26 October 1987

1.69 On 2 June 1988, Loyalist J told Nelson to concentrate his efforts on Target E. Later that month Nelson reported that Loyalist K was also looking for the [name redacted-Targets E and F] brothers.24 Nelson made enquiries and traced the [name redacted – Targets E and F] to a building site where they worked.25 Target E was shot at his home on 17 August 1988. Fortunately he survived the attack.26


24 CF 24 June 1988

25 CF 30 June 1988

26 TCF 18 August 1988

1.70 Nelson advised his handlers that his brother-in-law Loyalist A, of the UVF, was involved in the shooting. Nelson had previously given Loyalist A 20 intelligence documents. Of these he could recall the names of only four persons.27 Nelson also reported that he had moved an Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) weapon for Loyalist A, just before Target E was shot.28 A report reveals that the gun used to shoot Target E was the same weapon that was used to kill Terence McDaid, another of those Nelson targeted.29


27 CF 23 March 1988

28 CF 16 August 1988

29 TCF 18 August 1988

1.71 Nelson reported to his handlers that the UFF were to have attacked Target E on 24 August 1988 while wearing a postman’s uniform but were “beaten to it” by the UVF.30


30 CF 23 August 1988

1.72 There was no warning given to Target E or his brother Target F although they were reported as being targeted by Nelson from 4 May 1987 through June of 1988. Indeed, many of the CFs and MISRs specifically referred to Target F and Target E as “long standing targets for the UDA.”

(c) The targeting and shooting of Target C

1.73 In Nelson’s first term as an agent for FRU, there is a clear indication that Target C was being targeted by the UDA.31 Nearly two years later, Nelson reported that:-

(a) currently UDA in Belfast are targeting the following Republicans with a view to assassination:
1. [name redacted]

2. [name redacted]

(b) the UDA are also targeting the following vehicle:

[registration redacted]32


31 MISR 29 August 1985

32 CF 18 May 1987

1.74 The CF containing that information indicates that this license number was that of a blue Ford Granada belonging to Target C33 [address redacted]. From this information it could reasonably be inferred that Target C was the target. It may or may not be a matter of any significance that this page is missing from HQ NI CF. On 22 May 1987 Target C was shot at his home by the UDA/UFF. Fortunately he survived.34


33 CF 18 May 1987

34 CF 29 May 1987; CF 15 December 1987; MISR 21 January 1988

1.75 The Army’s position was that the warning of individuals was the exclusive responsibility of the RUC Special Branch. No warning was given to Target C even though the RUC SB would have been informed through a MISR that he was being  targeted by the UDA. Nelson continued to target Target C and reported seeing him at  [a hotel – name redacted] in July 1988. Nelson entered a plea of guilty to conspiracy to murder Target C at his trial in January 1990. (See Appendix 2)

(d) The conspiracy to murder Target G

1.76 Target G was extensively targeted by Nelson on behalf of the UDA. He also carried out extensive observations on Target G’s home. This is confirmed by a number of CFs and TCFs35. While plans were formulated, and the UDA was reported by Nelson to be “keen to see Target G shot”36 no attacks were carried out.


35 CF 12 August 1987; MISR 12 August 1987; CF 13 August 1987; TCF 26 January 1988; CF 4 February 1988; CF 17 February 1988; CF 3 March 1988; MISR 4 March 1988; CF 9 March 1988; CF 12 April 1988; CF 26 October 1988

36 CF 15 August 1987

1.77 The extent of Nelson’s targeting in this matter amounted to a criminal act. He was charged with conspiracy to murder Target G in 1990. He entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was also charged with collecting information likely to be of use to terrorists in planning or carrying out an act of violence. On this charge he was sentenced to four years imprisonment to be served concurrently with his other sentences. (See Appendix 2)

1.78 There does not appear to have been any prior warning given to Target G despite the reports of the extensive surveillance of Target G’s home carried out by Nelson.37


37 CF 17 February 1988

(e) The shooting of Target B

1.79 In November 1987, Nelson informed his handlers that he had shown Loyalist F a list of Sinn Fein members and from it Loyalist F had picked the names of Target A and Target B.38 Later CFs reveal that Nelson also prepared personality cards on both of these people and gave them to Loyalist F.


38 CF 24 November 1987; MISR 24 November 1987

1.80 On 7 December 1987 Target B was shot at his home and seriously injured.39 The following day when Loyalist H met Nelson he was in possession of the “P” cards for Target A and Target B. He tore up the Target B intelligence card and handed Nelson the card pertaining to Target A.40 The fact that the UDA had these ‘“P” cards’ was recorded in a MISR which would, in the ordinary course, have been sent to RUC SB.41


39 CF 10 December 1987

40 CF 10 December 1987

41 MISR 10 December 1987

1.81 No prior warning was given to Target B.

(f) The targeting of Target S

1.82 In a statement given in January 1990, Nelson indicated that in February 1988 he was at the UDA headquarters checking photographs of targeted individuals against Kelly’s Directory for current addresses when he was joined by Loyalist J and Loyalist F. Loyalist J referred to the photographs as being “good stuff” and said “we want to get into it right away”. After looking at the photographs, Loyalist F said “I’ll take this one” referring to a picture of Target S. In his statement, Nelson went on to say that he completed the P Card on Target S. Nelson told his handlers that, on 1 March 1988, while at the UDA headquarters in Shankill, Loyalist F showed an interest in Pacific Avenue, particularly the address of Target S.42 He told Nelson he was concentrating his efforts on this street.


42 CF 3 March 1988; MISR 3 March 1988

1.83 On 12 March 1988 two masked men burst into the home of Target S at [address redacted] and terrorised the family. Fortunately, Target S was away at that time. According to Nelson, it was the Loyalist F team that had attempted to shoot Target S.43.


43 CF 18 March 1988; MISR 18 March 1988

1.84 There was no warning given to Target S that he was being targeted.

(g) The attempted murder of Target L

1.85 The material reviewed reveals that the case of Target L represents the only instance where the work of Nelson and the cooperative efforts of FRU and RUC SB actually  saved the life of a targeted Catholic. During the period from 6 April 1988 to 11 January 1990, handlers prepared at least 33 CFs and TCFs outlining the targeting of  Target L. During this same period, 28 MISRs or MISR supplements were prepared. The FRU was alerted by Nelson that an attack was scheduled to take place on the morning of 20 May 1988.44 It appears that FRU may in turn have alerted RUC SB.45 Arrangements were made for a strong Army and police presence to be at the proposed crime site. As a result, that murder attempt was aborted. However, Target L remained a target of the UDA for some time thereafter and continued to be the subject of persistent surveillance and operational planning. It is significant that Nelson’s handlers were of the opinion that the reason the attempt on the life of Target L had to be aborted was because he (Nelson) had managed to get himself involved by driving the lead car.46


44 CF 11 May 1988; CF 16 May 1988; CF 19 May 1988; TCF 20 May 1988, 7.20hrs; CF 23 May 1988

45 Report dated 20 May 1988. sent by East Det FRU to TCG Belfast, Source Unit

46 TCF 20 May 1988, 7.10hrs; TCF 20 May 1988, 9.20hrs

1.86 Notwithstanding the aborted attack and prolonged targeting by the UDA, Target L was never warned that his life was in danger.

(h) The attempted murder of Target R

1.87 Nelson reported to his handlers that, in April 1988, he and Loyalist F carried out a reconnaissance of the home of Target R at [address redacted].47 Nelson followed this up by preparing an intelligence targeting document. He also stated that, on 15 September 1988, Loyalist F had asked him who was of interest at [address redacted] and that he gave Loyalist F the name of Target R. Nelson confirmed the details that he had given to Loyalist F after checking his intelligence material. On 16 September 1988, gunmen broke down the door of [address redacted] and fired six shots into a bedroom which was occupied at the time by the [name redacted] family. The family had barricaded themselves in the bedroom with a wardrobe across the door. Nelson twice called his handlers with regard to the attempted hit on Target R stating “it was ours this morning.”48 Loyalist F admitted his responsibility for the attack to Nelson and provided him with the details.49


47 CF 19 April 1988; MISR 19 April 1988

48 TCF 20 September 1988

49 CF 21 September 1988

1.88 No warning had been given to Target R that he had been targeted.

(i) The murder of Gerard Slane

1.89 Nelson reported that, in September 1988, he and Loyalist I showed photographs of Irish Peoples Liberation Organisation (IPLO) members to persons who stated that they had witnessed the murder of a UDA member named Loyalist L. These people identified Gerard Slane as the gunman.50


50 CF 12 September 1988

1.90 Shortly thereafter, Nelson met Loyalist K and Loyalist I while they were discussing possible targets to focus upon. Nelson suggested Gerard Slane and produced photographs of him from his intelligence material. He gave them Slane’s address as [address redacted]. Nelson also checked the electoral rolls for Slane’s address.51


51 CF 21 September 1988

1.91 On 23 September 1988 two gunmen murdered Gerard Slane at his home. The next day, Nelson telephoned from Scotland where he was on holiday to tell his handlers of the attack.52 According to his reports, Nelson was asked by Loyalist J to write a statement claiming that the recent assassinations were carried out by the UFF.53 This statement, together with photographs, would be printed in the Ulster magazine.


52 TCF 24 September 1988

53 CF 16 October 1988

1.92 In 1990 Nelson entered a plea of guilty to collecting information likely to be of use to a terrorist, namely, identifying a person as being involved in the murder of Loyalist L. He was sentenced to four years imprisonment which was served concurrently with his other sentences. (See Appendix 2)

1.93 No warning was given to Gerard Slane or his family that he was being targeted.

(j) The attempted murder of Target M

1.94 On 6 October 1988, Nelson received information pertaining to some Republicans, including Target M. A MISR noted that Target M was being targeted by the UDA and that the UDA mistakenly believed his address to be 16 [street name redacted].54 The handler was aware of the error, noting that “the most recent address for Target M is 10 [street name redacted] not 16 although the electoral register does not confirm this.”55 Nelson was involved in various targeting activities pertaining to Target M. On 18 October 1988, Nelson picked up Loyalist H and went to the reference library to check the electoral roll to confirm details relating to Target M. Loyalist K asked Nelson to check [street name redacted] for Target M’s car. Nelson reported that he was unable to get into [street name redacted] because the cul de sac was blocked off. Loyalist K was then to take on Target M as his target.56 In November 1988, Nelson carried out a reconnaissance of [street name redacted]. He could not find number 16. Nevertheless he reported back to Loyalist K, setting out Target M’s details and his photograph. Target M’s correct address was ascertained when Loyalist K and Loyalist  M carried out their own reconnaissance and observed that number 10 had a security door.57 Later, gunmen entered 10 [street name redacted] and held an 18 year-old boy at gunpoint while the house was searched. Fortunately, Target M was not at home.58


54 MISR 20 October 1988

55 CF 26 October 1988

56 CF 26 October 1988

57 CF 7 November 1988; MISR 10 November 1988

58 CF 9 November 1988

1.95 Nelson entered a plea of guilty in January 1990 to conspiracy to murder Target M. (See Appendix 2) Once again, no warning was given to Target M that he was being targeted.

(k) The attempted murder of Target N

1.96 At about the same time that Nelson was targeting Target M, he was also targeting Target N. On 18 October 1988, Nelson and Loyalist H went to the library to check  voters registers for Target N and one other target to confirm their addresses.59 These details were given to Loyalist J who said he would give them to Loyalist F. It was also suggested that the two targets should be attacked at the same time as they lived close together. On 7 November 1988, Nelson reported that he had called on Loyalist F the previous week and had given him Target N’s address and photograph. Nelson also informed his handlers that Loyalist F said that he would deal with Target N.60 A series of MISRs which, like all other MISRs, would have been sent to RUC Special Branch, detailed the UDA targeting of Target N, including the fact that the UDA had a photograph of him.61


59 CF 26 October 1988

60 CF 7 November 1988

61 MISR 22 October 1988; MISR 1 November 1988; MISR 11 November 1988

1.97 On 14 November 1988, Nelson telephoned his handlers to give details of an attack on Target N which had occurred two and a half hours earlier. At 8.30 in the morning gunmen kicked in the Target Ns’ front door and found only Target N’s wife and children at home. The UDA blamed Nelson for Target N’s absence.62 Nelson’s statement of January 1990 confirms his targeting of Target N and his identification of the house.


62 CF 17 November 1988

1.98 In January 1990, Nelson entered a plea of guilty to conspiring to murder Target N and, once again, was sentenced to 10 years to be served concurrently with the other sentences. (See Appendix 2) No warning had been given to Target N that he was being targeted.

(l) The attempted murder of Target P

1.99 The UDA began targeting Target P as a Sinn Fein activist in the autumn of 1987.63 The following spring, Nelson reported an aborted attack on Target P which had been disrupted by the presence of a crowd.64 No further action was taken regarding Target P until nearly a year later when the UDA decided to target a number of Sinn Fein members. In November 1988 Nelson reported that he had been asked to target a Priest, Father [name redacted], and that he was unhappy about this. His handler’s response may be significant. Nelson was asked “why he did not suggest someone from Provisional Sinn Fein (PSF) or PIRA hierarchy.”65 Two months later, Loyalist J asked Nelson for all the information he had on Sinn Fein members in Belfast. Nelson gave him 14 of his intelligence (ie “P”) cards. For 10 of these he recorded the names,  but he told his handlers that he could not recall the names of the other four.66


63 TCF 28 October 1987; MISR 28 October 1987

64 CF 23 March 1988; MISR 23 March 1988

65 CF 17 November 1988

66 CF 10 January 1989

1.100 On 17 January 1989, gunmen burst into the home of Target P but found only Mrs P at home.67 Nelson went to the UDA headquarters the following morning at which time Target P’s “P” Card was returned to Nelson. This was one of the four cards which Nelson had failed to identify by name. It was eventually recovered from his intelligence dump.


67 CF 25 January 1989

1.101 Notwithstanding the extensive information about the targeting of Target P, both prior to the attempted murder and after, no warning was given to Target P.68


68 CF 14 November 1989; TCF 23 November 1989

1.102 In all the foregoing cases, the targeting occurred before the murder of Patrick Finucane. I would, however, like to make reference to one person who was targeted both before and after Patrick Finucane’s death: Target O.

(m) The targeting of Target O, Solicitor

1.103 In a CF dated July 1988, under the heading “Forged Insurance Cover Notes –Loyalist E” Nelson is reported to have received three handwritten pages of targeting material.69 One of them related to the targeting of Target O. An Appendix to the CF contains the actual targeting material. It provides: “Target O (Sos) spends a lot of time in [Bar name redacted] Antrim Road in the company of [name redacted], Solicitor (Sos). NB  every Sunday Target O visits the [Bar name redacted] always some music. Parks the car (Merc) out on the road ie unprotected, he is always with his son (also Sos).” This material appears to indicate that Target O was the prime target of the UDA, although it is not presented in that way in the CF. Indeed, the text of the CF does not mention Target O by name.


69 CF 10 July 1988

1.104 Various additional references to the targeting of Target O can be found in CFs dated shortly after Patrick Finucane’s murder. Just five days after the Finucane murder a “Source (other than Nelson) stated that Loyalist G, Loyalist J, and Loyalist K were overheard in the [Bar name redacted] saying that Target H and Target O would be next on the list”. A handwritten note on the CF records the acronym “PIRA” next to Target H’s name, and a handwritten note next to Target O’s name reads “PIRA/INLA Solicitor.”70 It is reasonable to presume that these notes were placed on the document by FRU personnel. According to a different CF, another agent had reported that it was members of Loyalist H’s battalion who had carried out the murder of Patrick Finucane on 12 February 1989. The same source went on to state that the UDA had been targeting Patrick Finucane for some time and that Target H (handwritten note “PIRA”) was also being targeted by the UDA.71 Yet another agent confirmed this, stating: “They are planning to shoot three solicitors: Pat Finucane (recently murdered), Target H (SP632) and Target O (SP1998).”72 Another Report dated 21 February 1989, from one of the same agents stated that Patrick Finucane had been told by Target O prior to his death that he was being targeted by Loyalist paramilitaries.


70 CF 17 February 1989

71 CF 16 February 1989

72 CF 17 February 1989

1.105 Despite all these source reports, the SB’s Threats book contained only one reference to the targeting of Target O. Significantly, it did not appear until October 1989 some eight months after the warning was received. Even then it was decided that no further action was to be taken. Thus within days of Patrick Finucane’s murder there was evidence to suggest that other solicitors were also targets, yet nothing was apparently done to prevent further loss of life. Target O was never warned by FRU or RUC SB, although an officer involved in the Stevens I Inquiry did warn him after the team obtained the information referred to above.

1.106 Against this background it is now appropriate to consider the evidence pertaining to the targeting of Patrick Finucane.