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Stakeknife: Diminutive 'Scap' had a fearsome reputation

By Staff Reporter

Published 22/10/2015

Freddie Scappaticci
Freddie Scappaticci

He was small in stature, but with a mighty reputation.

Freddie Scappaticci, allegedly the highest-ranking British agent in the Provisional IRA, was feared by even the most hardened IRA gunmen and bombers.

As a member of their so-called nutting squad, he was charged with rooting out, interrogating and dealing with suspected informers.

He also vetted IRA recruits.

'Scap' was the grandson of an Italian immigrant who moved to Northern Ireland in search of employment.

He lived and worked as a builder in west Belfast and was interned in the early 1970s alongside Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and a number of other high-profile republicans.

Having joined the IRA as a low-level footsoldier, he quickly rose through the ranks becoming deputy head of the movement's notorious internal security unit.

It is alleged a brutal punishment beating persuaded Scappaticci to become a double agent known as Stakeknife, first with the RUC's Special Branch and then with the Army's Force Research Unit - a shadowy undercover outfit linked to the murder of Catholic civilians.

As a prized asset, Stakeknife reportedly received payments of up to £80,000 a year for information about kidnappings, bombings and shootings.

He was named publicly for the first time in 2003 by disaffected Army agent Kevin Fulton, a soldier who had infiltrated the IRA for the intelligence services.

Fulton, who had fallen on hard times, threatened to unmask Stakeknife in a row over money.

Scappaticci, who has always denied being the agent codenamed Stakeknife, fled Northern Ireland in 2003 following media revelations about his alleged role.

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