Donaldson family say handler key to killing


THE FAMILY of Denis Donaldson have released a police document which they say “precipitated” the circumstances that led to his exposure as a British agent and ultimately resulted in his murder.

They have indicated that his handler, called “Lenny”, could hold the key to solving his murder.

As Garda detectives continued to question two men in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, last night about Donaldson’s murder five years ago, his family have demanded his police special branch handler and his associates must be properly investigated.

Donaldson was murdered in Co Donegal in April 2006. The Real IRA said it killed him.

One security source described as “significant” the arrest of two men, aged 69 and 31, on Tuesday.

The man in his 30s is being questioned about allegedly handling the gun used to kill Donaldson while the other was arrested on suspicion of withholding information.

The younger, more significant, suspect is regarded as a long-time member of the Real IRA and senior Garda sources say members of that organisation are now the only suspects in the murder.

The younger man has been questioned before about alleged Real IRA membership. He has been close to men from Dublin regarded as members of the same organisation and who have convictions for armed robbery.

Meanwhile, Donaldson’s family have complained that five years after his murder little progress appears to have been made in the Garda investigation. They also said that the intelligence agencies, particularly PSNI special branch, have serious questions to answer about his exposure as a British agent and subsequent murder.

Through Belfast solicitors Madden Finucane they released a copy of a “police message” allegedly given to Donaldson in December 2005. The message states: “Members of the media believe that Dennis (sic) Donaldson is an informant.”

“We are today releasing the document that precipitated the circumstances of Denis’s exposure and ultimate murder,” the family said. “The chain of events flowing from this document culminated in Denis’s murder. The document was issued by one of the agencies which handled Denis as an informer.”

The family said after receiving the document from the police Donaldson “spoke privately with Sinn Féin over several days and admitted his role as an agent”.

They added: “An unprompted telephone call to Denis from his former handler, so-called Lenny, happened five days later on the afternoon of Thursday 15 December, 2005. This call caused Denis to secretly flee from Belfast with immediate effect. After publicly admitting his role as an agent in Dublin the next day, Denis then went back into hiding until three months later, when he was again publicly exposed and soon afterwards murdered.”

The family said that this information, including the document, ought to have been obtained by investigating gardaí from the PSNI. “Lenny is intimately informed about the events surrounding Denis’s murder. ‘Lenny’ holds answers to many questions.”