Monday, 6 September 2010

Why Damaged Covert Operator Derek Bird Finally Went On The Rampage in Cumbria

by Trowbridge H. Ford

No part of Britain has experienced more change since World War II than Cumbria, that wild, isolated northwestern corner of the kingdom which has surprisingly improved considerably because of government help, especially in the military and energy sectors. Long known for the ports of Cumberland and wilds of Westmorland, it engaged more often in illegal trade, especially with the Isle of Man, than any legimitate enterprise like mining, farming, forestry or fishing. Of course, it had long been a tourist attraction with its famous Lake District, but that did little to help its domestic residents: It was only during the postwar that the area began to radically change with the permanent establishment of the British military in the new county, Britain's nuclear energy being centered at the generating plant at Sellafield, and the growing fields of winds gnerators in the Solway Firth.

While this growing investment of government money in Cumbria was to make a world of difference to the area, it was slow in making any serious impact upon its inhabitants until the 1970s. The biggest change was caused by Britain's increasing involvement in colonial wars, and shoring up NATO's naval activity in the Northeast Atlantic - what caused the build-up of Cumbria's military establishments. The most important long-term development was the vast build-up of the British Army's training establishment at Warcop. Started during WWII to provide the Canadian tank forces with training for the Normandy invasion, it became a permanent facility after war's end, growing to around 12,000 hectares now, most of it north of the Eden River, and all of it on the east side of the Lake District National Park. In the process, so many soliders, recruited domestically and from the colonies, found the area so inviting after they completed a very short career with a very generous retirement. Carlisle is particularly noted to its retired military personnel, especially Nepal's famous Gurkas.

Little wonder when Britain became deeply involved in the growing civil war in Ireland, and the increasing civil unrest at home during the 1970s that British Army recruiters looked to local boys to fill the ranks, and it was hardly surprising that Derek Bird, the youngest of Joe Bird's three sons, joined the ranks. Joe Bird lived in a house in the most remote Ennerby Bridge which he had inherited from his grandfather, apparently Thomas Bird, after he failed to gain ownership of Brougham Hall from former Lord Chancellor Brougham, first by telling its tenants not to pay his Lordship their rents, and then by occupacy - what ultimately resulted in a successful tresspass action against Bird in 1843. When it was proved that Brougham Hall was not the same property as the "Bird's Nest", Thomas Bird settled for living nearby as a country gentleman. Joe Bird was much like his grandfather, doing little besides talking to everyone who would listen, and hunting for rabbits.

Derek's chosing the Army was pretty much directed by the family's and the area's limited opportunities. Being the youngest of three children, born quite close together, and having a fraternal twin brother David who performed much better in the same class at Ehenside Community School - establising them as a "chalk and cheese" couple - and went on to a successful career in the community as a mechanic and land developer, Derek, 19 years old, answered the call when Major General Dick Trant, Commander of Land Forces (CLF) in Northern Ireland, wanted to expand the forces there to meet the growing IRA threats. In 1977, he wanted to complement the 14 Intelligence Company with the formation of Close Observation Platoons (COPs) for each of the thirty battalions serving two-year 'residential' tours there, and one for the four-month-tour battalion stationed in South Armagh, having found the loosely-ogranized Northern Ireland Patrol Group (NIPG) formed the year before to provide intelligence inadequately trained, and not permanently stationed in the province.

About the COPs, Mark Urban wrote in Big Boys' Rules, they "...would take the best soldiers from the battalion and give them expert training in observation techniques. The CLF and the brigade commanders would be able to use the new platoons anywhere in Ulster, not just inside the area of the particular battalion to which they belonged. COPs were to become important in establishing the regular patterns of activity among ASUs (IRA Active Service Units) and movements of key republicans." (p. 45) The trouble with the plan was that the Army was unable to find enough soldiers from the battalions that it wanted, so it had to recruit volunteers for the new 'SAS-type units'. In June 1977, The Times reported the drive, stating that the Army was looking for 300 volunteers for the new undercover force, but, according to Urban, it had to settle for about 200, indicating that it was accepting just about anyone who wanted to join, and Derek certainly wanted to.

The biggest cause of Trant creating the SOPs was the failure of the NIPG to have any idea of what Provo terrorist Francis Hughes was up to, especially when he and colleagues Dominc McGlinchey and Ian Milne shot dead two officers of a RUC Special Patrol Group when it tried to capture them in a car chase on April 8, 1977 - what turned out so badly that the authorities later claimed that it was at a checkpoint when they tried to inspect their Volkswagen. The 14 Intelligence Company aka 'the
Det' and the RUC's Special Branch had been vigorously trying to capture the Provos' South Derry commander since he had apparently killed an elderly Protestant woman, Hester McMullan, for no reason when they killed the two rather clueless RUC members and wounded another. The capture of the trio seemed almost assured when they lost control of their car after being flagged down, and ended up stuck in a ditch while attempting a U-turn. But they came ouf of the vehicle with all guns firing, the kind of thing, another PIRA commander opined, that Hughes would do while he was on his way to plan a similar murder. "Shortly afterwards," Peter Taylor
concluded in The Brits, "police posters went up all over the province featuring Francis Hughes, the most wanted man in the North." (p. 210) Little wonder that the British Army had no reservations about accepting a most dubiouis volunteer for the SOPs under the circumstances.

Even the Army, though, was persuaded that conditions were not bad enough to take Bird into the COPs during his 24-week long basic training, as he just barely got through it, hardly justifying his going on in its special COP course. Instead, Bird joined the regular ranks, and started serving soon with the Gloucester Battalion, though, not very well, as he was used as an errand boy for the ranks rather than preparing to take on combat action himself.

It was while it was involved in the stakeout of a Maghera farmhouse near South Derry's Glenshane Pass, hoping to catch Hughes unawares when he surfaced there, that Bird pulled off its greatest success. On March 16, 1978, two COPS soldiers, Lance Corporal David Jones, who was on secondment from the 3rd Parachute Battalion, and Lance Corporal Kevin Smyth, were manning the observation post when they spotted two arned men in camouflage clothing, heading for the farmhouse. Jones, thinking they might be members of the British Army's Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) because of the insigna on their jackets, stood up, and challenged them to identify themselves. The two Provos returned the challenge with bullets, resulting in a firefight which wounded Jones, who later died, and Smyth. The two Provos apparently escaped unharmed.

In the aftermath of the firefight, soldiers from 'the Dets' back-up team, and the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) looked high and low for the Provisional gunmen the whole morning but without success. Taylor claimed that Hughes was found by a corporal called Geoffrey from the QRF, following a trail of blood that he had left as he tried to make his escape. (p. 211) Actually, this was a cover story to protect the identity of the soldier who had, Private Walnut apparently aka Private Bird. His career in the Army had only gotten worse the day before as he had been put in a cell for appearing dirty on parade day, and had only been released because of the emergency Hughes had caused. During the morning, Bird, the battalion tea boy, had been sent back to headquarters to get refreshments for the search parties, and had just returned.

Thirty years later former UDR officer Wallace Clarke described what happened to Hughes, thanks to the initiative of Private Bird: "Now he wondered off with a dog handler and it was he who spotted a figure propped up against a tree trunk in a deep wooded guilly..." who turned out to be the most wanted Hughes. Thanks to his capture, the charges against Bird were dismissed, and he gained the code-name "Private Walnut" for having spotted Hughes leaning up against a walnut tree. They are becoming more common in Ireland for their nuts, but until recently, they were not seriously cultivated because of the difficulties of getting them started, and keeping them from rotting. For more about Hughes' capture, see this link:

http://victims.org.uk/s08zhk/index.php?option=com_context&ask=view&id=122&Itemid=72

As a result, eagle-eye Bird got the sobriquet "Birdy", and he and the doghandler Geoffrey, according to the Sergeant Major, would never have to pay for a drink in the Company bar.(Taylor, p. 211)

It was then that Bird, it seems, was given his COP training, and returned to Northern Ireland to help in the efforts of its seven COPs to prevent ASUs from ambushing British soldiers, as the number of casualities began to show. "In 1983 five regular British Army soliders were killed, compared to 10 UDR members and eighteen RUC members, and in 1984 nine regular Army soldiers were killed compared to ten UDR members and eight police officers. Most of the UDR murders and many of those of RUC members took place when they were off duty." (Urban, p. 188) Little more is known of Bird's actions during this time than that he started living with LInda Mills, most likely from Northern Ireland since hardly anything is known about her, and established a home back in Cumbria for her. They never married.

Little wonder that the security chiefs then got the COPs to increasingly protect these soft targets not only to save lives but also to insure that local security forces were not depleted to the Provos' advantage."The COPs were given their duties," Urban expained; "by the TCG (Tasking and Co-ordination Groups of the RUC) operation centres. Some of their missions were based on informer intelligence identifying a specific threat to an individual, but high-grade information of that kind was normally given to the Int and Sy Group, leaving the COPs with little better to operate on than local hearsay and the guesswork of intelligence officers." (p. 188)

It was doing operations like this that Bird became better known, ultimately leading Wallace Clarke to write his glowing account of Private Walnut's capture of Hughes on its thirthieth anniversary. Wallace had apparently been moved to join the UDR because of what had happened to another Clarke - William, quite possibly a relative, but at least one whose fate had most stuck in Wallace's mind. William Clarke was also in the UDR, and was killed while off duty by the IRA after he had visited some relatives in the Republic, and was making his way home when he was shot dead by the Provos as he motored along a lane, Gortnessy, in Pettigoe, County Donegal. Bird, it seems, was so good in stopping the murders of off duty policemen and local soldiers while preparing regular soldiers for more elite duty that he was asked to join the 14 Intelligence Company around 1985. (For his apparent photograph, and the fact that he was sent to 'the Det' while another went to the SAS, see the photographs in Urban's book of four COP operators with their faces blacked out, and the inside evidence he has about two of them. though note that he made no mention of how Hughes was captured, and Private Walnut's crucial role in it.)

Hardly surprising that Birdy became involved when the Thatcher government decided to get rid of Sweden's statsminister Olof Palme, and make it look like Moscow did it so the Cold War could be settled by a conventional, preemptivie war which would avoid the use of nuclear weapons. At the time, the RUC was pursuing young Francis Bradley of Magherafelt, County Londonderry, on suspicion that he had been involved in the May 1985 killing of RUC reservist, R. J. Evans. Bradley had gotten on the RUC's radar screen of suspects in killings because of his attending the funeral of Antoin MacGiolla Bride who was shot dead by the SAS on December 2, 1984 during which he hit on the head by an RUC baton which required stitches. The RUC put mounting pressure on him to admit to the Evans murder and/or to become an informant, neither of which Bradley agreed to.

Conditions only became worse for him after covert operators, it seems, ratched up matters by shooting up the unnamed Castledawson Police Station on December 9, 1985 - apparently the opening shots of the campaign to sink the Soviets and their allies, especially the IRA and its arms supplier, Gaddafi's Libya. The RUC was joined by the 14 Intelligence Company, particulary its South Detachment's CO, Captain Simon Hayward, in hounding Bradley for the crime, making it clear that he would never get married nor live to see Easter. By this time, the CLF was Major General Tony Jeappes - the only former commanding officer of the 22 SAS Regiment to hold the post - who was willing to conduct the most aggressive actions for the Crown. About Hayward's role in the campaign, note how Bradley's close friend Seamus O'Connor described their leading antagonist: "He was 5'10'' tall, well built, 30-35 of age." (Quoted from Raymond Murray, The SAS in Ireland, p. 351) For what Hayward looks like in battle gear, see the back of the dustcover to Tony Geraghty´s The Irish War.

When it came time to start the showdown with the Soviets, the trial assassination of Bradley on February 18, 1986 in preparation for the one in Stockholm ten days later, Hayward led the ambush squad, and Bird apparently did the actual killing. The squad had veiled its mission as best it could by mounting a stakeout for about two weeks of the house yard where it would take place. (Urban, p. 216) Then it was just a question of getting Bradley there - what was accomplished by a local IRA man asking him to move a cache of weapons from Kevin Walls' house. When Bradley started doing so, he was gunned down by a barrage of gunfire, the first one apparently from Hayward, aka Soldier 'A' wihch hit Bradley's in the buttocks, and the last ones by Soldier 'C' apparently aka Derek Bird, a burst of fire..."into the young man's stomach which proved fatal." (Murray, p 356)

While there were a multitude of questions about the killing, almost none of which were adequately answered, the most disturbing ones were supplied by Soldier 'C' in a written statement at the inquest, held at the Magherafelt in March 1987. In it, he described in most alarming terms the killing which seems nothing more than shooting an unarmed man, as the squad had had about a fortnight to make sure that the weapons were not armed, in the back until he collasped to the ground on his back where he was finished off at close range. "I did so fearing for my safety", Soldier 'C' explained, and he finished off Bradley when he "...realised that he was moving into a position to engage me, I just opened fired instinctively and ran through the gap into the farmyard where I took cover by the farm building..." (Quoted from Murray, pp. 355-6.) Neither he nor Soldier 'A' attended the inquest, preventing them from being cross-examined about anything.

By the time the inquest occurred, political affairs had changed radically. While Palme had been assassinated, there was no chance of blaming the Soviets because they were prepared for it, thanks to the spying by Ames, Hansson and others, and London was still burdened with Gaddafi, especially the weapons he was sending on the Eksund for a Provisional 'tet' offensive - what had to be stopped at any cost. This required satisfying London's major spy involved in the capture, "Steak knife" in the IRA leadership, and he demanded that Hayward be set up for punishment in Sweden for another crime to make up for his assassination of Palme - what was agreed to.
Moreover, Hayward's role in shoot-to-kill murders was being increasingly debated, thanks to the removal of John Stalker from investigating them. This led to Hayward's appeal for alleged drug smuggling to stand in October 1987, forcing his retirement from the British Army in 1988 when he was serving his five-year sentence in Malmö prison.

It seems that Bird suffered a similar fate - since he might well have been one of the assassins stalking Palme too, given his role in the Bradley trial run - forced out of the Army, and given essentially a new identity by becoming Derrick Bird, what he was known as when he was given a joiner's job at Sellafield's nuclear site around this time. Bird, unfortunately, returned to his earlier 'dirty' ways, stealing wood from the plant for which he lost the cushy job. Then his relationship with Linda Mills went down the drain when he fathered a second child - who he wanted aborted - and she persisted in having, leaving him permanently, and without a word more to him. Then his father Joe provided his twin brother David with £25,000 from his savings without telling Derrick, and which David had not paid back by the time Joe died. Derrick's cab-driving became increasingly tense because of the fighting over customers, and the banter among the cabbies while waiting for more.

It seems, given the fact that several of them were also veterans, that it often turned on Bird's service, especially after Wallace Clarke published the most favorable article about Private Wlnut's feat. It was after that that Bird was often heard that he would "...like to kill them all", meaning family, fellow cabbies, and former soldiers. The crisis peaked when John Larkin, a long-time critic of the Bradley assassination, became Northern Ireland's first Attorney General since Britain took direct rule, and announced at the end of May that there would be a new inquest into the Bradley killing where his killers, Soldiers 'A' and 'C', would not only be obliged to attend, but they would be cross-exmained about their testimony. It was this, not alleged tax owed the Internal Revenue, which had Bird complaining to his colleagues that he faced possibly six to ten years in prison for his crimes.

On the moring of June 2nd, Bird went on the rampage, taking vengeance not only on family and cabbies who had allegedly cheated him out of money but also veterans who had on occasion humiliated him over his fall from the COPs and 'the Det'. Brid killed Ken Fishburn, a "lifetime Army man" who served 25 years in the Durham Light Infantry before he retired, with a blast from his shotgun, fifty meters from his house. Donald Reed, a former cook with the Royal Irish Regiment, would have suffered the same fate earlier if he had not reacted with his counter terrorism training from the Army immediately when Bird started shooting at him, knowing that he was quite skilled with weapons because of his Army service. And it was also another cabbie and apparently former Army veteran Richard Webster who made sure that Bird didn't kill him by calling him off. These three, it seems, knew about Bird's secret Army career, and had driven him over the edge when it came to dealing with his real problems, not taxes, guns, wills, loans, fares, etc.

The MoD, it seems, put a veil of secrecy over the carnage, limiting coverage of the killing to a bare minimum, with the media often just repeating what little bits others had reported, making sure that Bird's secret years from about 1977 to 1989 were never reported. And it seems that it will stay that way even now as there has been no movement by Chief Coroner John Lecky in the Bradley killing in three months, and it is unlikely there will be with HMG apparently closing down the ordered inquest in the name of national security.

11 comments:

starviego said...

What is your source for your claims?

Also, Birdy seemed to be living a lifestyle far in excess of the wages of even the most successful taxi driver; a fact not addressed by the police or media. Does your theory have an explanation for that?

Trowbridge H. Ford said...

My source for my claims is all the books I mentioned in the article, especially those by Urban, Murray, Geraghty,Taylor and Hayward, and the articles about the capture of Francis Hughes, and the new inquest into the calculated murder of Francis Bradley, plus my own thinking which put it all together.

This is what important research about covert government involves, as no researcher is ever going to find a single source which makes everything clear.

Bird might well have gotten a big golden handshake when he apparently was obliged, like Captain Hayward aka Captain James Rennie,to retire from the BA - income that finally got the Internal Revenue wondering where all his money came from and went, though this problem was not the one which made him fear he was going to prison for six to ten years, but because of the fallout from a new inquest into the Bradley killing, and made him go on his self-destructive rampage.

For more, see this link:

http://wikispooks.com/wiki/Derek_
Bird

starviego said...

What do you think of the evidence that indicates there may have been a second gunman?

-Early reports say the suspect was in his 30s with a shaved head.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article7142477.ece
The BBC reports Mr Bird switched cars from his Citroen Picasso to a black Vauxhall Astra before abandoning the second car and proceeding on foot.

Comment from another forum:
"I heard on radio 4 this afternoon on the drive home from work that a local man saw him in his Taxi and he had a snipers rifle-The chap said it looked massive like ones used to kill people a mile away in a war(50 cal)"

Also, on the BBC nightly news, one witness described the rifle as a "James Bond-type weapon." Another witness said the shooter was carrying a massive rifle with a massive scope.

Trowbridge H. Ford said...

Have found no evidence that there was a second gunman - what might have been the result of a simple mistake or have been rumored to help explain away the vast counter terrorism fiasco.

Do think it quite possible that a sniper rifle was also used - like the one the COP operator on the left (apprently Bird) was carrying in Mark Urban's photograph of four of them with there faces blacked out in Big Boys' Rules, with a powerful scope on it.

This would be covered up in spades because if acknowledged, it woud show that Bird was a former covert operator who not only had an unlicensed killer weapon but also knew how to use it - as Donald Reed's life-saving measures demonstrated.

SocialParasiteTV said...

Sir I am investigating variuos issues about this event and many others in the UK and would like to talk to you about this data and any possible sources..
If there is a photo of Bird in the military, or even a record of this available in the public domain then I would love to see these issues futher..
Do you have an email address you can be contacted on?
Regards
L.

Trowbridge H. Ford said...

Since the inquests into the killings of Derrick Bird and his dozen victims are taking place, I hope that the following are finally answereded before the jury reaches its verdicts:

1. How Bird spent his life and where from about 1976 to 1990?
2. Did he serve in the British Army, first in Royal Marine Close Observation Platoon (COP), and later in the 14 Intelligence Company?
3. Was Bird also known as Private Walnut because of his role in the capture of the infamous Provo gunman Francis Hughes?
4. Is Bird in the photograph that Mark Urban published in his book: Big Boys' Rules - the one which showed four members of the COP, and is he the one who went to the more elite 14th?
5. Was Bird Soldier 'C' in the ambush assassination of Francis Bradley on February 18, 1986, a trial run of the assassination ten days later of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme just 25 years ago yesterday?
6. Did Bird play any role in the real thing, either as the assassin, lookout, or decoy?
7. If so, what prevented him and Soldier 'A', apparently Palme's assassin Captain Hayward, from attending Bradley's first inquest?
8. Did these murders ultimately force their resignation from the Army?
9. What did Attorney General John Larkin have in mind when he ordered a new inquest into the Bradley killing at the end of last May?
10. Was the threat of a new inquest what drove Bird over the edge?
11. Is the death of Bird responsible for North Ireland chief coroner John Lecky having done nothing about holding it since Bradley's killer is now dead?
12. Is there any legal remedy if these questions and others are not answered by the inquests?

Trowbridge H. Ford said...

The inquests into the Derrick Bird murders seem to be already fatally compromised as they have not pursued Don Reid - the victim who knew the most about him, and survived to tell it if Reid were willing or obliged to explain.

During Reid's testimony, he showed that his own experience as a cook in the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) came in most handy when Bird started shooting. He spoke of how
"Derrick leant into a firing position" before killing fellow cabbie Darren Rewcastle.

Then Reid used every defensive measure he knew from his Army experience to parry off Bird's attempts to kill him while coninuting to stalk him.

"When David Roberts, the Coroner for North and West Cumbia," the Daily Mail reported, "asked Mr. Reid how well he knew Bird, he replied. 'As a friend. The only thing he has done against me is shoot me in the back.'"

The obvious thing would then be to ask him what and how he knew about Bird before he became a friend, and what else did he know about his fellow cab driver while he was becoming one.

The Coroner made not attempt to pursue the matter, knowing that Reid was not going to talk to anyone about all he knows about Bird.

And the information which most comes to mind now is that glowing piece that Wallace Clarke wrote on the RIR's web page about the heroics of Private Walnut in the capture of the IRA's leading terrorist Francis Hughes on the 30th anniversary of the Hunger Striker's death.

The British have made covering up state killings into a fine art.

Trowbridge H. Ford said...

Now the coverups of Derek Bird's rampage in Cumbria have been completed with the jury finding in the inquests that he did unlawfully kill twelve innocents while in an insane state of mind, though no explanation of why this was so was provided, especially since he chose not to kill some like Richard Webster and the landlady of the pub he frequented.

The most likely answer of this apparent conundrum is that he killed those who made fun of his plight over what he had done during the lead-up to the Palme assassination, and those who just compounded it by local abuses.

The real source of his carnage is HMG which failed to acknowledge its role in his plight - a case far more serious and yet unexplained than Bloody Sunday.

Case unsurprisingly closed.

Trowbridge H. Ford said...

Now I learn that Neil Wallis, a former executive director of The News of the World, was hired by the Mets' Chief Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates as a consultant on alleged phone-hacking from October 2009 until September 2010.

Could the NOTW and other media have been hacking the phones of Bird's relatives and his victims in the hope of learning more about who Derrick really was, why he went on the rampage, and who really knew about it all?

And was Wallis hired because he knew a lot about the impending new inquest into the killing of Francis Bradley, a test run for the assassin, apparently Captain Simon Hayward, Ops Officer of the 14 Intelligence Company's South Detachment, in the Olof Palme killing?

When Hayward was convicted of being a drug runner here in Stockholm in August 1987 - a set-up to get him out of the way while operations were still going on against the Provos, especially the capture of the trawler Eksund, loaded with Libyan weapons for them - Wallis wrote a completely false account for The Sun about Hayward - stating that he led the ambush of the Strabane terrorists, was concered that his identity might be known, and was in line for a top military intelligence position in Whitehall.

Actually, the IRA knew exactly who he was, explaining the set-up, and the securocrats were just helping out by falsely claiming the intended Whitehall position to get him to go along while in Ibiza.

The most important lie by Wallis was the Strabane claim about Hayward while his most important operation was the practice killing of poor Bradley, ten days before the one here in Stockholm.

Little wonder that when this article appeared about the cause of Bird's rampage, the Met dropped Wallis like a hot potato.

Moreover, when I mentioned this in a comment on The Guardian, it not only deleted the comment, but also removed from its article about Wallis's arrest when he was the Mets' consultant, particularly that it was terminated in September 2010.

Looks like the UK has done so much dirty business in the name of counterterrorism that it cannot even begin to expose it.

Trowbridge H. Ford said...

I must say that looking again at the article about Wallis's arrest in The Guardian, the time he was working for the Met as a consultant is there, so I might well have overlooked it when I wrote my last post.

And I see the Met now explains the termination of his employment was because of the appearance in The New York Times on September 1, 2010of its article about NOTW's early hacking of the Royals et al., but it seems most unconvincing as Wallis apparently was the former unnamed editor who spoke about meetings with editor Andy Coulson of hundreds of messages gotten from phone records pulled, or listened to, hardly grounds for leaving the Met then if it was serious in investigating the scandal. Seems it would be more interested than ever in having Wallis's help in its inquiries.

For the NYT story, see this link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/magazine/05hacking-t.html

Trowbridge H. Ford said...

Now The Guardian is attempting to give the Met's Chief Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and his assistant John Yates an alibi for hiring former Sun reporter, and deputy editor of the NOTW Neil Wallis in October 2009, claiming that his knowledge of NOTW's phone hacking was most germane when meetings took place between Guardian people and the Met officials in December 2009 and February 2010 - what the Met has denied.

The hiring of Wallis, the most knowledgeable source on what happened in Northern Ireland during the late 1980s, was to keep track of developments as the province moved further towards self-government, especially the re-establishment of the Attorney General's office - what John Larkin seemed likely to fill. Larkin was working with the Finucanes to see that a new inquest was established into the deliberate killing of Francis Bradley on February 18, 1986, a trial run for the assassination of Sweden's statsminister Olof Palme ten days later here in Stockholm.

Wallis had gone out of his way to make it look as if the Swedes had deliberately convicted Captain Simon Hayward - Palme's apparent assassin when he was helping reassess the performance of his bodyguards for former SAS Major David Walker's KMS, Ltd. security firm - of drugs smuggling when it was Britain's securocrats, especially NDIU officers Brian Moore and David Morgan, who had done so.

Wallis, only after Hayward's conviction in early August 1987, made up all kinds of stories about Hayward, especially his leading the ambush of the three heavily-armed PIRA terrorists at Strabane in 1985 when Hayward was not even there, whilr he ignored what he knew about Hayward's role in the killings of not only Bradley but also Seamus McElwain.

Wallis's biggest secret was knowing that Derek Bird aka Private Walnut was Soldier 'C' in the Bradley murder, and he was to keep track of how events developed as the province moved to towards appointing Larkin Attorney General, and establishing the new inquiry into Bradley's deliberate murder.

It seems that the Crown had been alerted by one of Bird's fellow servicemen in Whitehaven, most likely Richard Webster, that he was making more and more threats against his fellow cabbies and mates because of the ribbing that even Ken Fishburn and Donald Reed were engaging in at his expense - i.e, the former Private Walnut had been reduced to just a poor nut.

Of course, the Crown should have taken steps to act quickly if and when he went completely off the rails, but it did nothing, leading to the dreadful carnage on June 2, 2010. The only one who stopped anything was Webster's preventing Bird from finishing off Reed by demanding that he stop. Reed had taken telltale action which showed that he was being attacked by a former covert operator.

Of course, the Crown still made sure that nothing damaging came out about it, thanks to Wallis's monotoring communications by all about the attacks, and it making sure that ex-servicemen like Reed and Webster said nothing revealing about who Bird really was, and why he went on the rampage.

The scene totally changed, though, when this article appeared, and Wallis made his hasty departure as a Met consultant.