Belfast Telegraph

Murder bid arrest ‘a sham to protect my spy husband’

The arrest of a woman who claims she was later interrogated by the man alleged to be the most senior British informer in the IRA was a sham to protect her Army agent husband, the High Court has heard.

Margaret Keeley only realised she was a stooge years after being held over the attempted murder of a senior detective and then taken for paramilitary debriefing after her release, her barrister claimed.

The Newry woman is seeking permission to sue west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci, who denies allegations that he was the Army spy codenamed Stakeknife.

She was held for up to four days in 1994 following an IRA attempt to murder RUC detective Derek Martindale in east Belfast.

Mrs Keeley, whose ex-husband Peter Keeley is himself a former MI5 agent known as Kevin Fulton, was released without charge.

She says she was then taken with Fulton to a flat in Belfast’s New Lodge where she was interrogated by an IRA security team.

One of those involved in two debriefing sessions was Scappaticci, she said in evidence.

She told the court that a face she glimpsed during two debriefing sessions was Scappaticci.

Mrs Keeley claims to have been unaware of her husband's own role as an agent, and that she only realised who Scappaticci was when he was exposed in 2003 as an alleged informer.

It is this date of her knowledge which will determine her application to be allowed to sue the man said to be Stakeknife.

Mrs Keeley's barrister, Brett Lockhart QC, said yesterday that she didn’t know until 2007 that her 1994 arrest “was a sham and designed to protect her husband”.

The court heard how she went to solicitors after first contacting a human rights group. Mr Lockhart said she went to British Irish Rights Watch “because, as the full picture began to emerge, she realised that she had been a stooge”.

He said the novel and evolving nature of the case explained the delay in bringing proceedings.

But Michael Lavery QC, for Scappaticci, argued that the long delay was prejudicial to his client.

He said it would impact on his ability for provide an alibi for events, and that Mrs Keeley failed to establish the knowledge required to succeed in an application against Scappaticci.

Judgment was reserved.

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