EX-Special Branch agent Martin McGartland is asking the police to investigate an INLA hitman who allegedly attempted to murder him.
The informer, who infiltrated the IRA, wants detectives to tell him if DNA samples found at the scene where he was shot in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, are a match for Frankie 'Studs' Lanigan.
The former INLA assassin has previously admitted that he was asked by the Provos to kill McGartland, but he claimed he refused the request.
However, sources told last week's Sunday Life that the 56-year-old did cross the Irish Sea to shoot and seriously wound the informer outside his Newcastle home. The gunman leapt out of a waiting green Bedford van armed with a CZ-75 pistol.
Lanigan was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison earlier this month for the 1998 murder of doorman John Knocker (right) in a hotel car park in Dungannon. He has been linked to up to eight other killings.
McGartland was shot six times at close range as he sat in his car at his home in June 1999.
"Police found three DNA stains within the 10 metres from the gunman's van to my car," he told Sunday Life last night.
"In 2018, Frankie 'Studs' Lanigan claimed in a newspaper interview that the IRA had asked him to kill me but he had turned them down.
"I asked Northumbria Police then to see if his DNA matched that found at the crime scene. They never came back to me.
"That makes me very suspicious because when I've asked them previously to check out other suspects' DNA against samples from the scene, they've come back to tell me they didn't match.
"As the victim of a murder attempt, I'm calling on police today to tell me whether there is a match with Lanigan or if he has been eliminated from their inquiries.
"I want to know whether he currently is a suspect or person of interest in my attempted murder, or if he was prior to him revealing in 2018 that the IRA had asked him to kill me. It would make sense that the IRA would ask someone outside their ranks to shoot me because of the implications for the peace process at that time if they were directly implicated.
"Lanigan was clearly a capable and ruthless operator who had killed before. He would have been perfect for the job.
"Even by asking him to murder me, the IRA must have trusted him hugely and felt he'd be loyal and not expose them were he caught."
The former Special Branch agent claimed he was told in 2010 that there was an "international dimension" to the police investigation into his shooting.
"I suspected at the time that meant a suspect was in the Republic. I now know that Lanigan moved to Dublin after the Knocker murder and was working there as a barber under the alias Ciaran McCrory," he said.
"I don't know whether or not he tried to kill me, but I am demanding answers from the police.
"I was left with life-changing physical and psychological injuries. I want whoever tried to murder me brought before the courts and charged."
McGartland was attacked as he left his home at 8.40am to drive his partner Jo, a hairdresser, to work.
For security reasons, he switched between using the front and back doors of his house, so the IRA positioned a gunman outside both.
One sat at the front in a car which was later used as the getaway vehicle; the other was positioned in a van at the back.
McGartland described how he fought for his life as his assailant opened fire on him.
"I saw a man in a green coat. He pointed the gun at me and I lifted up my hand. He shot me twice. The force of the blast lifted me from the driver's to the passenger's seat," he explained.
"Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. He leant into the car through the driver's side and tried to shoot me in the head.
"I lunged forward. I put my left hand out to grab hold of the gun and push it away from me and towards him.
"A bullet went through my left hand, exited and went into my leg, but the shock of me diving at my attacker caused him to pull back.
"It was just pure instinct from me, going into survival mode. He wasn't expecting that. It panicked him.
"I'm not religious, but somebody was watching down on me that day because I shouldn't be here now.
"I didn't see his face, but eyewitnesses said that he was heavily disguised with a fake goatee beard and glasses.
"All I remember is his shape. He wasn't heavy-set. He was light and moved very quickly. He was agile and athletic.
"A mother and her two sons who were trained in first aid ran to help. They put socks in my wounds and wrapped me up in clingfilm. The surgeon said that if they hadn't done that, I would have lost far more blood and would have died.
"I underwent emergency surgery for eight hours and they had to rebuild my hands. Even now I can't cook a meal or tie my shoelaces."
McGartland claimed police had told him that those responsible for the attempted murder were in the Newcastle area for three weeks beforehand.
"They met the guy who sold them the Bedford van. They bought mobile phones. They tried to rent a property and they drank in local pubs," he said.
It was the second time that the IRA had planned to murder the informer, who was recruited as a Special Branch agent to spy on the Provos when he was 16.
McGartland worked for the RUC until his cover was blown in 1991, when he was abducted and held by the terrorists' internal security unit. He escaped death by jumping to freedom from the window of a third-floor flat in west Belfast.
Sources claim that Lanigan is a suspect in the 1999 murder of Belfast-born car dealer.
Pat Logan was shot five times while making a frantic 999 call to report intruders at his house in Manchester.