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June 05, 2006

Saving cash on '£7' tout

(Poster's Note: We are in Ireland; will try to post news when I get a chance. Jay)

Saving cash on '£7' tout

By Sunday Life Reporter04 June 2006

FREED loyalist informer Ken Barrett may be broke - but his release last week will save the Prison Service a whopping £200,000 per year.

Barrett - the only man convicted of murdering Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane - hasn't received a financial package from any government agency.

He was whisked out of Belfast last Tuesday afternoon just hours after being freed from Maghaberry Prison where he was serving a 22-year sentence for his part in the murder of the high profile lawyer.

His departure has saved the Prison Service £200,000 a year in costs because he had to be guarded round the clock by at least four prison officers due to fears he would be attacked by other UDA inmates.

Four specially trained officers also had to accompany Barrett every time he was moved from a segregation unit to a special visits or medical area.

The former UDA enforcer pleaded guilty to all the charges put against him in the Crown Court in September 2004 and never divulged his role in the infamous murder which is still being probed by the Stevens Inquiry team.
Ken Barrett's solicitor Joe Rice has already dismissed reports that the UDA killer has received a substantial 'financial package' as a payoff for keeping quiet about the murder.

"Ken Barrett left Belfast with £7 in his pocket. It's absolute nonsense to suggest that he received any financial package from the British Government, never mind a substantial financial package.

"Nothing could be further from the truth.

"He will be on benefits and his wife is surviving on benefits.

"He is broke."

Last month the Sentence Review Commission upheld Barrett's application to be considered for early release under the terms of the Prisoner Release Scheme which became law after the Belfast Agreement was signed.

The Secretary of State Peter Hain opposed Barrett's release on the grounds that he was likely to resume association with the UDA, a suggestion dismissed by sources in the outlawed organisation.

One senior UDA figure said: "Barrett would have got whacked just like (William) Stobie if he had returned to live in Belfast.

"He was a tout and nobody in the West or North Belfast Brigades would have trusted him.

"So I don't know where the Northern Ireland Office is getting this from."
Barrett served two years and eleven months for his part in the Finucane murder, which loyalist sources claim was simply to drive the gunmen to the solicitor's North Belfast home.

The main gunman is understood to be a senior UDA figure from the West Belfast Brigade who is currently facing serious criminal charges.

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