Widow of IRA ‘informer’ launches legal action over decision not to prosecute anyone with his killing

Murder of Anthony Braniff (22), who was shot dead by IRA in September 1981, investigated as part of Operation Kenova

The widow of an IRA man whose murder was investigated as part of the £40m Operation Kenova has launched a legal action over the decision not to prosecute anyone in connection with the killing.

Anthony Braniff (22) was shot dead by the IRA in September 1981 after being branded an informer.

His death featured in a seven-year inquiry into the activities of IRA executioner and British Army agent Stakeknife, widely believed to have been west Belfast man Freddie Scappaticci.

In February this year the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) confirmed nobody will face any criminal charges following the Kenova investigation.


Mr Braniff’s widow, Mary, has now lodged papers at the High Court in Belfast seeking a judicial review of the decision not to prosecute.

Her lawyers claim it was irrational, breached human rights standards and failed to properly assess potential health and safety offences.

Solicitor Kevin Winters of KRW Law said: “It will be a travesty if after seven years and £40m worth of investigative work there isn’t a single prosecution arising out of Kenova.

“This challenge is an attempt to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Scappaticci, who died last year, was linked to more than a dozen murders during his time as a member of the IRA’s internal security unit.

Known as the “nutting squad”, the unit was set up to interrogate and kill suspected security force informers.

Mr Braniff, a father of three from the Ardoyne area of north Belfast, was one of those murdered by the unit.

In a report published last month, Operation Kenova found that Stakeknife probably cost more lives than he saved while working as a British spy at the heart of the IRA.

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