Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

The son Raymond Gilmour hadn't seen for 33 years tells of his relief at death of the supergrass

By Suzanne Breen

Published 04/11/2016

Raymond Gilmour more recently when he was living in England
Raymond Gilmour more recently when he was living in England
A message posted by Raymond Gilmour’s son
The former IRA and INLA man in paramilitary uniform
Supergrass Raymond Gilmour in 1984

A son of IRA supergrass Raymond Gilmour has welcomed his death, remarking after he heard the news that: "There is a God".

Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph Raymond, who is named after his dad, denounced him as "a pest for the stuff he did and put my family through".

He said that his father had turned supergrass purely for "the sake of money", and added: "He wasn't a nice man."

Raymond was just three when he last saw his dad. Gilmour waved goodbye to his children at Easter 1983 after his wife Lorraine decided she could no longer live in hiding in England. She missed Londonderry too much, and returned there with her two young children, Raymond and Denise.

Raymond jnr said that in the intervening 33 years he had no contact with his father.

"I never saw Gilmour and I never knew him. I never wanted to see him, for a lot of reasons," he said.

He learned of his father's death on Saturday morning after it was exclusively reported in the Belfast Telegraph. In a post on social media just after 8am, he wrote: "Today is a very good day. A lot of demons finally put to rest for good. There is a God. Lol."

The 55-year-old supergrass was found dead in his Kent flat last week. His body had been lying there for around a week and was badly decomposed. A port-mortem is being carried out.

Raymond jnr does not use the Gilmour name, and this newspaper is not publishing his surname in order to protect his privacy.

The 35-year-old, who has children himself, bears a striking resemblance to his father.

His sister, who is a year younger, also has children and runs a successful business in Derry. Their mother, who has married again, shares the same surname as her children and is a doting grandmother.

Raymond told the Belfast Telegraph that the media coverage since his father's death was uncomfortable for his family, especially for his mother - "an angel like no other". He said that his father "didn't deserve the ink" used in media reports.

Gilmour went on to have two more sons in Britain, including an 18-year-old, who discovered the body.

"I feel sorry for his kids, and sometimes very lucky I didn't get to know him, as he wasn't a nice man at all," Raymond said.

He added that the man his mother married in Derry after leaving Gilmour was "the only father I've ever known - he gave me everything a father could".

Raymond believed that he had enjoyed a far better life than he would have had "if my mother had stayed with Gilmour".

His only regret was that he was named after his father. He said that when he was younger he was "tortured because of who I was".

However, as time went by, the "people of Derry were good to me, bar the odd armchair republican".

Gilmour went into hiding in 1982 after agreeing to give evidence against dozens of republicans in Derry, where he had infiltrated the IRA and INLA as a Special Branch informer.

In an interview with this reporter in 2008, the supergrass described his last moments with his children before they returned home.

"I gave the kids their Easter eggs and then the police drove them to Newcastle Airport. I remember them looking out the rear window at me as the car disappeared," he said.

The supergrass added that, several years later, the police had brought him documents from Lorraine to sign asking for their marriage to be annulled and the children's names changed.

"I agreed. The kids were told I was dead. I've had no contact with them. Raymond is 27 now and Denise is 26. They are always in my thoughts," he said.

Gilmour described how Lorraine had no idea of his secret life as an agent. He broke the news to her as the IRA became increasingly suspicious of him. He suggested a holiday to the Butlins camp at Mosney.

After leaving Derry he pulled into a layby and revealed he was working for the British. "I said she had two choices: to come with me to safety in a military barracks or to go home. She burst into tears. Eventually, she said she'd come with me, but I saw the hatred in her eyes," he recalled.

Gilmour never took his family to Butlins. Instead, he drove to Thiepval Barracks in Lisburn, which was to be their new temporary home. His handler sent postcards from Mosney to friends and family in Derry in order to maintain the pretence of a holiday.

The family later moved to Ipswich, but were unhappy there so their security service minders decided to fly them to Cyprus. Gilmour tried to kill himself on the island. Lorraine started ringing home, unconsciously revealing their location, which led to an IRA assassination attempt.

They returned to England but Lorraine still hated it and decided that she and the children would return to Derry. Gilmour never saw any of them again. He found out some details about their lives only after he was reunited in 2010 with his sister Geraldine Dametz, who lives in the US.

She told him that he was a grandfather and that Denise had twins. Gilmour always became emotional when talking about his children. "I will love them until the day I die," he said.

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph