THE MURDER OF TED STUART: LEAVE GRANTED TO CHALLENGE THE INVESTIGATION OF AN MRF SOLDIER
KRW LAW LLP is instructed by the family of Telford Stuart who was killed while on active service in the British Army’s Military Reaction Force (MRF) in Belfast on 2 October 1972. Telford Stuart was part of a covert undercover operation of intelligence, employing the cover of a mobile laundry service, in the Twinbrook area of West Belfast when he was shot and killed by the PIRA. Today in the High Court in Belfast leave was granted for a judicial review to ensure that Telford Stuart’s murder becomes part of the on-going investigation into the MRF being conducted by the PSNI Legacy Investigation Branch (LIB), the successor to the discredited HET.
Telford Stuart was a member of the British security forces engaged in a dangerous covert counter-insurgency operation. Over the years, there have been multiple allegations that the operation was compromised and ultimately lead to his murder. The activities of the MRF – The Shadow Troop as one former soldier has described it – have only recently become better understood following a BBC Panorama documentary broadcast in November 2013. This programme lead the DPP to refer the allegations made against the MRF to the PSNI to “… initiate an investigation into the activities of this unit, to include the authority upon which the unit and its commanders acted.”
The murder of Telford Stuart is not to be included in the PSNI LIB investigation into the activities of the MRF. This is the basis on which the application for a judicial review challenging that decision of the PSNI. KRW LAW LLP is aware of the need to represent the interest of all victims of the Conflict in the North of Ireland, across the community and including the families of the British security forces. There can be no hierarchy of victims and this application is an important marker in the rights of the families of British soldiers – the right to have the deaths of their loved ones investigated and, if there was any State failure to protect Telford Stuart, the State should properly be held accountable for such failures.
The murder of Telford Stuart in circumstances which are contested requires investigation. The HET was found not to be reviewing cases in either a human rights compliant or in an accepted national police procedural manner. The referral by the DPP to the PSNI regarding the activities of the unit in which Telford Stuart was serving – the MRF – is important and we maintain that Telford Stuart’s murder must be part of that investigation. That is now the basis of a full judicial review in the near future.