The British government has decided not to order a public inquiry into the 1989 murder of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, one of the most notorious killings of the Troubles, despite intense legal and political pressure.
Brandon Lewis, the Northern Ireland secretary, made the announcement on Monday in a devastating setback to a decades-long campaign for a fresh investigation into an attack found to have involved state collusion.
Loyalist gunmen forced their way into Finucane’s home on 12 February 1989 and shot the lawyer 14 times in front of his wife and three children. The 39-year-old had become prominent for defending IRA paramilitaries, often successfully.
It emerged that Brian Nelson, the Ulster Defence Association member who directed the organisation’s attacks, was an agent controlled by the British army’s force research unit.
The government promised a public inquiry in 2001, only to backtrack. The original investigation into the murder was ineffective and failed to meet the standards required under human rights law, the supreme court ruled last year.