The murder of William Stobie update

12 December 2001

The Red Hand Defenders, a cover name for the UDA, have claimed responsibility for the murder of William Stobie, the former RUC Special Branch agent and UDA quartermaster shot dead as he walked to his car this morning in north Belfast. Speaking on BBC Radio Foyle John White, former spokesperson for the now defunct Ulster Democratic Party, admitted that Stobie's public call for an inquiry into his attempted prosecution and the ramifications of the Finucane murder had "angered many people in the loyalist community". White went on to claim that the Finucane case was being used to undermine the RUC and the Northern Irish state. Is the implication that Stobie was murdered by loyalist paramilitaries intent on defending the honour of the RUC? White did not reveal in the interview or in other interviews that he had accompanied loyalist paramilitary Johnny Adair in a visit to Stobie at which he was allegedly assured that his life was not in danger. This alleged assurance clearly had a sell-by date.

Open Letter on William Stobie from British Irish Rights Watch:

Rt Hon Dr John Reid MP
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland Office
11 Millbank
London SW1P 4QE 12th December 2001



Dear Secretary of State,


British Irish Rights Watch has learned with shock, but sadly no great surprise, of the murder this morning of William Stobie.

In view of the very murky history that emerged during the unsuccessful attempt to prosecute Mr Stobie and the allegations that have been made by him and others concerning Special Branch collusion in the murder of Patrick Finucane and the failure to bring the perpetrators of that murder to book, we insist that Special Branch and the Police Service of Northern Ireland play no further part in the investigation of Mr Stobie’s murder. We believe that the public could have no confidence in an investigation undertaken by Special Branch or the PSNI, and that to allow them to continue with this investigation will only make it more difficult for PSNI to distance itself from the RUC’s poor reputation.

Furthermore, we urge you to set up a public inquiry into the murder of Patrick Finucane and related deaths without further delay or prevarication, and before anyone else associated with this case is murdered.

Yours sincerely,
Jane Winter,