SEVERAL high-profile IRA members involved in Freddie Scappaticci's notorious 'nutting squad' are sweating over being charged with murder.
Sunday Life has been told that four files sent to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), and a further 10 that are being prepared, detail their alleged roles in executions.
Among the killings are that of estate agent Joe Fenton, mother-of-three Caroline Moreland and 23-year-old Joe Mulhern.
Each were IRA members and targets of its internal security unit headed up by the Army informant Stakeknife, who Scappaticci denies being despite the mountain of evidence against him.
Relatives of his victims were informed last Wednesday that a special investigative unit known as Operation Kenova led by retired chief constable Jon Boutcher, which has been examining the double agent's crimes, had submitted files to the PPS.
One told us: "A detective from Operation Kenova phoned me to say four files have been sent to the PPS regarding Stakeknife and another 10 are being prepared.
"My understanding is that the files relate to allegations against Scappaticci, his handlers and IRA members who were part of the internal security unit."
Mr Boutcher confirmed this in an interview with UTV Live, explaining how the files related to murder, abduction, torture, perverting the course of justice, malfeasance in public office and perjury.
He said: "That covers a spectrum of individuals from the security forces and the IRA. As regards the story of Stakeknife, I can say we understand what that story was, what happened, what didn't happen and we will be able to give these families that truth."
As part of the Stakeknife probe, detectives from Operation Kenova have spoken to more than 150 individuals about Scappaticci, including former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and the party's ex-Belfast Lord Mayor Alex Maskey.
Both politicians had prior associations with the IRA double agent, but neither are linked to the files sent to the PPS.
These files involve members of the IRA's internal security unit, the so-called 'nutting squad', who were directly involved in the abduction and murders of Caroline Moreland, Joe Fenton and Joe Mulhern.
Boutcher's findings also pour cold water on claims from both Scappaticci and the IRA that his involvement with violent republicanism ended in 1990.
Mulhern was shot dead and dumped near the border in 1993, with Caroline Mulhern killed the following year.
A former IRA member told Sunday Life: "Anyone involved with internal security through the 1980s and early 1990s is sweating over being charged.
"Over the past two years, most of them have been voluntarily questioned by detectives from Kenova in the presence of their solicitors.
"Some of these people are still with Sinn Fein and it would be very embarrassing for the party if they were charged. We are talking dozens of murders here."
Scappaticci fled Northern Ireland in 2003 after being outed in the press as the double agent Stakeknife - the Army's most senior informant in the IRA.
A court then banned the media from publishing any new pictures of him from that date or revealing his address.
In his 17 years away, the now 74-year-old has made fleeting trips back to Belfast to attend the funerals of his father Daniel and wife Agnes.
In 2018 he was given a suspended prison sentence by a court in London after pleading guilty to possessing extreme pornographic images of people having sex with animals.
The sickening pictures were found on a computer seized from him by Operation Kenova detectives.