Attorney General orders new inquest into murder of Gerard Slane

Gerard Slane

Brian Nelson and Force Research Unit played key role in the murder


The Attorney General (AG) has ordered a fresh inquest into the 1988 murder of Gerard Slane. The development has come after lawyers acting for the family, Kevin R Winters & Co, made submissions to the AG several months ago.

The loyalist terror group the UDA/UFF murdered Gerard Slane, father of three, in 1988 at his West Belfast home. It later emerged that a secretive British army military intelligence group, the Force Research Unit (FRU), and the RUC Special Branch all had knowledge of the planned attack yet failed to prevent it.

It also emerged that the terror group’s most senior intelligence officer, Brian Nelson himself a former British soldier, was in fact the FRU’s leading agent and that under their command he had procured and organized Gerard’s murder.

In January 1990 Nelson was subsequently arrested and charged by the Stevens Enquiry Team despite efforts by MI5 and FRU to thwart any probing into the murder by Stevens.

In January 1992 Nelson stood trial in relation to a number of murders and conspiracy to murder. This included Gerard’s murder.

The following joint statement is issued by the Slane family, Kevin R Winters & Co, and Relatives for Justice – please accredit

Speaking in advance of tomorrow’s press conference Teresa Slane, Gerard’s widow, said:

‘It is now 23 years after Gerard’s murder and there is never a day or moment that we as a family stop thinking of him.

‘Gerard was robbed of seeing his children growing up and of seeing his grandchildren. His parents, brothers and sisters were robbed of their son and brother, and my husband was brutally taken from me.

‘As a family we have many questions about Gerard’s murder.

‘Our pain and grief is no different to that of many other families also bereaved in the conflict- that Gerard’s murder has been clouded in secrecy and cover-up only adds to these emotions.

‘It is important that after all this time there may now be a proper opportunity to fully examine Gerard’s murder and the roles played by all of those involved. Public scrutiny is vitally important and therefore we welcome the fact that a new inquest will now take place.

Solicitor Kevin Winters added;

‘There are many disturbing features and unanswered questions in this case and any inquest will have to address these matters.

‘Lord Stevens conducted an extensive investigation into a series of murders of which Gerard’s was one. His report has never been published. Investigative journalists have also reported extensively on a range of matters related to Gerard’s killing among them Panorama’s John Ware.

‘Since the initial inquest, and the trial of Brian Nelson, who was charged in connection with Gerard’s murder, there was no ventilation of key factors in the killing and subsequently much evidence has emerged which could not have been examined at the time. Therefore the AG has rightly ordered a new inquest.

‘There has been significant changes to inquests since then and we would expect that Lord Stevens, his report, John Ware and indeed Brigadier Colonel Gordon Kerr, the then head of FRU, would be available to the court as part coroners examination of Gerard’s killing.

Concluding Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice, who have supported the family over many years said;

‘The killing of Gerard Slane in front of his wife and children in their home was a horrific experience and they live with legacy of that terrible atrocity. Teresa and Gerard’s children, now adults, want the truth.

‘Hopefully this inquest can establish the facts, provide the truth and allow the family to finally close this awful chapter.ENDS

• Teresa Slane calls on Cameron to cooperate fully with inquest
• Slane family statement issued today