‘MI5 offered cash for help’

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A Strabane man who was mutilated in a brutal paramilitary gun attack ten years ago has claimed police flashed hundreds of pounds at him in a failed attempt to get him to become an informant.

The man, who did not want to be named, said he believes two men who turned up on his doorstep were from intelligence services.

He said he slammed the door shut in the men’s faces and had gone public to appeal for him and his family to be left alone.

The man, who is in his 50s, was shot in both legs and both arms by the INLA in Strabane ten years ago.

Speaking exclusively to the ‘Journal’, he said the unexpected approach was made to him at a friend’s house in Clady nearly two weeks ago.

“There was a knock at the door at about 10 o’clock on the Thursday morning and when I went out there were these two boys in suits and ties. They were both wearing badges with ‘staff’ on them and one of the boys was holding a black folder,” he claimed.

He claimed that while the two plain-clothed men had come in an unmarked car, a marked police car passed by the house while they were at his door.

He claimed the man with the black folder called him by his first name and produced an ID card. “To be quite honest I didn’t look at it right but I think I saw the word Holywood on it. He never introduced himself by name and at no time did he say who he was or where he was from.

“One of the boys said nothing and the boy with the black folder opened it up and I saw all these notes in one side. The first thing I thought was that somebody had been caught with fake money and given my name. Then he said: ‘There’s a telephone number, we know you can help us. Will you let me into the house for three minutes?’.”

The Strabane man said he flatly refused to co-operate and “slammed the door in their faces”.

He said the incident followed what he believed to be a totally unwarranted police raid on his mother’s home last December. He had no idea why he had now been approached as he had no association with any political groupings.

“I think these people were from MI5 or MI6. If they thought they had any justification they could have searched my house instead of coming to flash money at me. I just want them to leave me, my family but especially my mother, alone.”

“I wouldn’t even know any of the detectives in Strabane. I just keep myself to myself. ”

The man said he had been “more or less left for dead” when shot with a pistol ten years ago and still bore the physical and mental scars. “I am on 14 or 15 medications a day,” he said.