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RUC 'shoot to kill' inquiry chair and Ian Brady Moors murders detective John Stalker dies aged 79

John Stalker has died at the age of 79 (PA)
John Stalker has died at the age of 79 (PA)

The former deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester police John Stalker, who lead an investigation into the RUC's shooting of suspected IRA members, has died aged 79.

The police man was one of the most recognised of his time having also worked on the Moors murder investigation into the killings by Ian Brady, who tortured and killed five children with his partner, Myra Hindley, between 1963 and 1965.

Before becoming deputy chief constable he was the youngest detective chief superintendent in the UK when appointed head of Warwickshire CID.

But it was his work during Northern Ireland Troubles which he was most recognised for.

Mr Stalker was asked to investigate the RUC shootings of six people but was removed from the inquiry shortly before it was due to report in 1986.

He was taken off the case at the moment he believed he was about to obtain an MI5 tape of one of the shootings.

Suspended over allegations of associating with criminals, he was later cleared of any wrongdoing and reinstated in his job as deputy chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, but his report was never published.

In 2016 state papers release, a diplomat revealed how Mr Stalker was concerned of a Masonic plot within the police acting against him.

In a letter in 1986, the Irish ambassador to London Noel Dorr wrote to then-taoiseach Garret FitzGerald about a brief private conversation with the police chief.

He said Mr Stalker was frustrated over not getting access to senior politicians, including the then Secretary of State Douglas Hurd, to make his case.

He said his report was 90% complete but feared it would be rewritten.

"In general he found the RUC were all right except for some people very near the top who were very much to blame," wrote Mr Dorr.

It was "sad and ironic" that the force's opposition to his investigation had damaged it much more than had it co-operated, acknowledged wrongdoing and turned over a new leaf, Mr Stalker said to him.

He retired in 1987 and went on to host the TV series Crime Stalker on ITV.

Announcing his death on Friday, his daughter Colette Cartwright paid tribute in a statement describing him as a "beloved husband, grandfather and great-grandfather who enriched the lives of many"

"After marrying my dear mum Stella in 1961, he spent his life as a devoted police officer, proudly serving the people of Greater Manchester for over 30 years.

“He is fondly remembered by many as going above and beyond the call of duty and was committed to making a difference for those most in need. As testament to this, he devoted his life to a career in the CID, where he worked for 16 years, rising to the rank of detective superintendent.”

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