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IRA supergrass Raymond Gilmour buried but fellow agent Martin McGartland stays away

By Suzanne Breen

Published 02/12/2016

British agent Raymond Gilmour was laid to rest at a small family service in Kent
British agent Raymond Gilmour was laid to rest at a small family service in Kent

IRA supergrass Raymond Gilmour, has been buried after a short, private service near his home in Kent.

Around 20 people, mainly close family and friends from England, attended the funeral. Among the mourners was Mr Gilmour's 18-year-old son, who found his father's badly-decomposed body in his flat five weeks ago.

The teenager's mother, and the IRA informer's ex-wife Fiona, from whom he split three years ago, were also present.

His friend, fellow British agent, Martin McGartland, did not attend the funeral due to security concerns.

Mr Gilmour was buried in Ramsgate cemetery in Thanet.

"My life remains under threat from the IRA so, unfortunately, going to the service would have posed far too big a danger in case photographs were being taken and there was a media presence," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"But I am delighted that Ray got the decent, Christian burial that he deserves. Had I not started an online fundraising campaign, it could well have been a pauper's funeral."

Mr McGartland raised £2,620 from a JustGiving page he set up last month. He gave £1,000 himself and the rest of the money came from 42 other donors.

"I paid the undertaker, and now myself and Ray's family in Kent will get the money together for a headstone," he said.

"I feel very strongly that it should bear his real name, 'Raymond Gilmour', and not the fake identity, under which he lived his life in England. I would be upset if that doesn't happen, as it is what Ray wanted."

Mr Gilmour (55), who was living on disability benefit, was found dead at his flat in Kent. He was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism. It is believed that he died from natural causes. His body had been lying for several weeks before it was discovered.

As the coffin was brought into the church, Brian Kennedy's You Raise Me Up was played. The Green Fields of France by The Fureys, Mr Gilmour's favourite song, was also played, and the funeral concluded with UB40's Red, Red Wine, which was in the charts when he met his ex-wife.

Fiona divorced him because she said that living with the Derry supergrass had become impossible. He suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from his days in Northern Ireland and from the emotional torture of being cut off from his family.

"I just couldn't cope with it all any more. Ray was a nightmare to live with. He would lock himself away in a room and not speak to me for weeks. He wouldn't shave," she said.

"I remember once, he refused to celebrate Christmas. Maybe it brought back too many memories of his childhood in Derry. I decided I wasn't going to let Ray spoil the day for me. I put up decorations, and he came in and ripped them all down.

"He would cry a lot. He was very vulnerable. I stopped inviting friends round to the house because I didn't know what mood Ray would be in."

Mr Gilmour gave evidence against 31 men and women in one of Northern Ireland's best-known republican supergrass trials. After the case collapsed in 1984, he was resettled in England by MI5 and given a new identity.

However, he never got over leaving his family in Derry, most of whom disowned him. He had no contact with his first wife Lorraine, nor their two children, Raymond and Denise. He suffered from alcoholism and serious psychological problems.

After his death, Mr Gilmour's son, Raymond, denounced his father as "a pest for the stuff he did and put my family through". However, the informer's sister, Geraldine, who lives in New York, said she had never stopped loving her brother and described his death "like a knife through my heart".

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