Found dead: Millionaire stockbroker turned IRA gunrunner Mike Logan who agreed to give evidence against top Provo
Man who bought weapons for Provos dies in his sleep in Florida
A US gunrunner who detectives wanted to fly to Northern Ireland to give evidence against one of the IRA's most senior commanders has died suddenly in Florida, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
In what could have been one of the most high-profile trials in years, stockbroker turned gunrunner Mike Logan was asked to testify against Sean 'Spike' Murray, the head of the IRA's Northern Command.
Logan alleged he had sent Murray hundreds of weapons during his five-year gunrunning career, which began after the IRA ceasefire and continued post-Good Friday Agreement.
Murray is one of Sinn Fein's most senior officials in Belfast. Last year, a high-powered PSNI delegation travelled to the US to ask Logan to give evidence against him. They included Det Chief Supt Tim Hanley, head of Serious Crime Branch.
Murray has continually denied any involvement in the gun-smuggling plot, describing the allegations as "without foundation".
Logan had changed his mind several times on whether or not to testify. He initially refused, telling detectives that it would mean "a death sentence".
He later agreed, telling this newspaper: "The cops are really serious about going after Spike. I've been promised immunity from prosecution by the PSNI. It's a cast iron guarantee so f*** it, I'm going for it."
He alleged that police had told him that they had new forensic evidence linking Murray to gun-running and other serious crimes, and that his testimony would also be crucial.
Stockbroker Mike Logan turned smuggler got thrill from deadly dealings
- Raymond Gilmour: 'Abandoned' IRA supergrass lay dead in his flat for up to a week
Logan (57) died suddenly in his sleep in Florida last Saturday.
A family member said he had passed away peacefully, adding: "There isn't an exact diagnosis but it appears to just be natural causes."
When asked for an update on the investigation into Murray and the Florida gun-running, a PSNI spokesman yesterday said: "Inquiries are continuing. This remains a live investigation and as such we can't comment further at this time."
Logan had sent the IRA a deadly cache of weapons including 200 handguns which were used in several murders, including that of two police officers in Lurgan in 1997. He claimed he had reported directly to Murray, who has served seven years in the H-Blocks for explosive offences and is a regular visitor to Sinn Fein's Stormont offices.
Logan said that police had told him that if a successful prosecution case could be constructed, he would he housed in secure accommodation in Northern Ireland during the trial. A volatile character, given to regularly changing his mind, he said that he had to overcome his instinctive hostility to police in order to co-operate.
Logan admitted sending the weapons used to murder Constables John Graham and David Johnston in Lurgan in 1997.
Another gun he sent to the IRA was used to kill Real IRA Belfast commander, Joe O'Connor, three years later. He believed a third was used in the 1999 attempted assassination in England of former British agent, Martin McGartland.
Logan was interviewed in 2014 in a BBC Spotlight programme which suggested that the British authorities, at the highest level, knew the full details of Murray's alleged involvement in the arms' importation, but turned a blind eye in order to protect the peace process.
The US authorities gave Logan immunity from prosecution in 2002 in return for information about the weapons he had bought.