Did Sunderland soldier and IRA murder victim Robert Nairac work undercover with Republican terrorists?

Grenadier Guardsman Robert Nairac, second right, on the streets of Ulster in the 1970s.

Grenadier Guardsman Robert Nairac, second right, on the streets of Ulster in the 1970s.

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A Sunderland soldier murdered by the IRA is at the centre of a new investigation into claims he worked undercover with the terrorist group to commit other atrocities.

The body of Captain Robert Nairac, formerly of Thornhill Gardens, Ashbrooke, has still to be recovered just over 40 years since he was shot inside the Republic of Ireland border during Ulster's bloody Troubles.

The authorities used last week’s anniversary of the killing to make a new plea for his remains to be returned and said “wild rumours” about his intelligence activities were hindering their

search.

Now one of those rumours is under investigation as part of a resumed inquest into the murder of 10 Protestant workmen in Northern Ireland by the IRA back in January 1976.

Belfast Coroner’s Court has heard claims that the British Army were ordered on the day of the Kingsmill Massacre to stay away from the area of South Armagh, where the attack would

later take place.

A former officer with the 1st Battalion Ulster Scots, who was in charge of military operations in South Armagh in 1976, denied at the inquest that this was the case.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the officer, identified only as MoD2, also insisted that Captain Nairac was not even in Ulster at the time of the killings.

He told the inquest: “He was not in the province at that time. He did not come until May or June.”

One of the theories behind Captain Nairac’s kidnap from a Republican pub inside the Ulster border late on May 14, 1977, is that his cover was blown after infiltrating the IRA.

More information about his movements in 1976 are expected to be revealed at the inquest by the Ministry of Defence next week.

The body of Captain Nairac, who was 28, is believed to be buried in dense Ravensdale Forest.