The ‘British Patriot’, the UDA Gouger and MI5

The following incident gives a fascinating insight into MI5

According to the da Silva Report into the murder of Pat Finucane MI5 gave the following assessment of Brian Nelson, the FRU agent within the UDA who was complicit in the Finucane murder:

The Security Service officer’s internal note of the meeting gave a very positive assessment of Nelson. Nelson was said to be

“highly motivated by patriotism to Britain and contempt for paramilitary godfathers”.

He was described as being of

“a much higher calibre than the average UDA gouger ”.

Overall, the officer felt that Nelson would make an “excellent ” agent for the Security Service. (6.66)

In the 1970s Nelson was convicted of a savage attack on a partially sighted man in Belfast. Again according to da Silva,

In the following year (1974) he was charged with offences arising from the kidnap of Gerald Higgins, a partially sighted man. During this Review I received powerful submissions from the victim’s daughter which make clear the sheer brutality of this offence.

In March 1973 Nelson and two other men abducted Higgins and took him to a UDA club where he was beaten, set on fire and electrocuted. Higgins was only saved when an Army patrol intervened as he was apparently being led to his execution. He was taken to hospital where his injuries were such that he was not expected to live. Thankfully he survived, though his daughter submitted to this Review that “My father never recovered from this horrendous ordeal. His life was left in tatters, his faith in humanity destroyed . In February 1974 Nelson was sentenced to imprisonment for seven years for firearms offences, intimidation and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. (see 6.4 & 6.5)

Gerard Higgins died prematurely as a result of his ordeal and the short sentence served by Nelson, the ‘patriot’,  would have destroyed his faith in humanity even more. Even now, 2017, the PSNI is refusing to release ballistic details of the weapon used by Nelson in the kidnapping and the MoD has yet to clarify the circumstances under which he left the British army in the early 70s. It is also unclear why he was not charged with attempted murder.