Man branded informer by dissidents on list of suspects to be prosecuted over Derry trouble
A man who fled his Londonderry home last month after he was publicly accused of being an informer is to stand trial along with his ex-associates in connection to a riot in the city on the night Lyra McKee was murdered.
William ‘Billy’ Elliot left his Creggan home after the New IRA’s political wing Saoradh claimed it had unmasked him as a British agent within its ranks.
Saoradh posted on Facebook that Elliot, who was in a relationship with a relative of a senior member of the group, was “working for British State Services”.
The group claimed Elliot was working for MI5 — something that has been laughed off by sources.
They say he was “incredibly vulnerable” and would have had limited knowledge of New IRA activity and been no use as a high-ranking informant.
Elliot has now appeared on a list of people to be prosecuted in relation to a riot on the night north Belfast woman Ms McKee was shot dead while observing the disturbance in the Creggan area of Derry.
On the day of the shooting, Elliot had been among a number of republicans who engaged with an MTV crew who were filming a documentary.
Presenter Reggie Yates spoke to a number of Saoradh members on the day of Ms McKee’s shooting. Following her death, the MTV crew handed over their footage to the PSNI.
It forms partial evidence against a number of people charged with a range of alleged offences dating back to April 2019.
MTV has said the footage will never be released publicly, but portions of it have been played during bail hearings.
They show the presenter express concerns at the number of children in the area during the riot, and he is later recorded saying that he heard shots.
The Public Prosecution Service has now served papers on a number of men.
They include Elliot along with Jordan Devine, Gearoid Peter Cavanagh, Joseph Campbell, Kieran McCool, Joseph Barr, Jude McCrory and Patrick Mellon Gallagher.
Should Elliot have to appear in the dock alongside the others, it will require a large-scale security operation, given claims that he is an informer.
It would also require returning Elliot to the city he had to flee in fear of his life. At the time, the dissident group claimed: “A local man, who we now name as Billy Elliot, was working for British State Services. This man was used to target local republicans in the Creggan area of Derry.
“Saoradh can confirm that Billy Elliot was not a member of the party, but was on the periphery of some activism by local members.
We believe that Billy Elliot is with his handlers in England.”
It is understood that a relative of Elliot was able to track his phone to London in the days after his disappearance from Derry before the phone was disconnected.
There is no information as to his current whereabouts.
Elliot’s family also posted on social media saying he suffered from “long standing” health and addiction problems, adding it had been an “incredibly challenging and traumatic time for our family”.
It was a further blow for the New IRA — the organisation has been infiltrated by the intelligence services at a high level.
In August 2020, it was revealed that Dennis McFadden had infiltrated both Saoradh and the New IRA while working for MI5 over a 10-year period. He provided rental properties for two leadership meetings of the New IRA in Tyrone.
Sound and video recording equipment had been planted in both properties as part of the covert Operation Arbacia, the most extensive intelligence operation in Northern Ireland’s history.
As a result, 10 people were arrested and charged with a total of 39 offences, including directing terrorism and trying to obtain Semtex.
Some of those arrested were alleged to be among the leadership of the New IRA.
Two weeks before the arrests, McFadden was moved out of his Glengormley home in Co Antrim. He is now living in witness protection; it is not known if he will be called to give evidence against those caught up in the sting.
Earlier this week the Belfast Telegraph reported that three people who were present at, or due to attend, the bugged meetings have not been arrested or charged because they have claimed they were “employed” in paid roles by the MI5 agent.