Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Ex-Met chief tells of Wright threat material

The policeman who investigated claims of security force collusion in Northern Ireland has told an inquiry into the murder of loyalist Billy Wright that significant new material relating to threats against the ex-LVF leader weren’t passed on to those heading the inquiry, despite the PSNI being aware of it.

Lord Stevens made the statement during his evidence at the Billy Wright Inquiry in Banbridge yesterday.

It was the first time the former commissioner of the Met has given evidence in public since he investigated allegations of security force collusion 20 years ago.

In the first part of the open session, Lord Stevens told the probe that in October 2007, he met with senior PSNI officers regarding additional information about threats made against the former LVF leader.

As he read out part of his witness statement, Lord Stevens said he had met with ACC Alistair Finlay in Belfast and was told that new material was being passed on which showed the threats made against Billy Wright were known but there was no evidence to suggest officers had acted on it.

“ACC Finlay mentioned the threat to Billy Wright had been known,” he said. “He said he could not find any record of what actions the RUC had taken in respect of that threat.”

Lord Stevens then explained he did not see the documents and told ACC Finlay without knowing the “specifics” of the case he would not be able to help in the context of the Billy Wright Inquiry.

“It was not until a few weeks later that I became aware that the Billy Wright Inquiry did not receive any significant new material,” he said.

After this statement, an application to hold the rest of this evidence behind closed doors because “sensitive matters will be referred” was granted by the chairman.

At hearing.

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