Answers over missing body of Sunderland soldier Robert Nairac may lie in America

A picture of Robert Nairac from Alistair Kerr's book.
A picture of Robert Nairac from Alistair Kerr's book.
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The author of an upcoming book about Sunderland soldier Robert Nairac’s murder believes answers over his missing body may lie as far away as America.

Monday marked 40 years since the Grenadier Guardsman was kidnapped, tortured and finally shot dead by the IRA after a night posing undercover in an Northern Irish pub during the

Author Alistair Kerr.

Author Alistair Kerr.

province’s bloody Troubles.

The anniversary has prompted new pleas for the return of his remains with the authorities now publicly disputing the theory that they were fed to an industrial meat mincer across the


A new book will also examine the case with its author believing that clues to the body’s whereabouts may lie in Boston, Massachusetts, where generations of Irish ex-pats have settled.

Alistair Kerr thinks IRA members and sympathisers have lodged written and recorded testimonies about the killing at Boston College as part of what have become commonly known as

the Belfast Tapes.

The tapes, which were first made in 2001, have become subject of legal battles as the British Government believes their content could end the mystery over both Capt Nairac’s death and

other unsolved incidents during the Troubles.

But the college made an agreement with both Catholic and Protestant authors of the testimonies that their identities and evidence will not be released until after their deaths for fear of


Mr Kerr, 64, a retired diplomat from Lincolnshire, said: “Some of the information has been released as a result of UK pressure and certain people dying.

“But as yet nothing has been released about Captain Nairac and my information is some of the people who do know what happened are still alive and as such the answers are not yet


Mr Kerr - who was largely inspired to write his book because he attended a lecture given by Captain Nairac in 1973 - does not

subscribe to the meat mincer theory and believes the soldier’s remains lie in County Louth within a 10-mile radius from where he was shot.

He said: “He wasn’t killed by anyone of note within the IRA. We are talking about sympathisers and low-level members. Amateurish yobs.

“If someone higher up the chain had got him then he wouldn’t have been shot so soon and would probably have been drugged and tortured for information.

“I’ve spoken to people within the services and others who are ex-IRA and the theory is that he was buried around the Ravensdale Forest area.

“But that was botched with animals soon uncovering his remains so it went higher up the IRA command and new people arrived to rebury the body elsewhere.”

The exact reasons why Captain Nairac, from Thornhill Gardens, off Tunstall Road, Ashbrooke, was in the pro-Republican pub on May 14, 1977, have still to be confirmed amid disputed

rumours that he worked for the feared SAS regiment and with Protestant paramilitary gangs.

Mr Kerr’s book, Betrayal: The Murder of Robert Nairac, was first published last year and sought to explore the real story behind a soldier who was portrayed “in some quarters as an idiot,

in others as an intelligent man and elsewhere as some sort of Satanic figure”.

Its popularity led to more people on both sides of the Troubles contacting him with additional information with the updated version expected to be released by Cambridge Academic before

the end of the month.

Among the new contents is more evidence distancing Captain Nairac from any involvement in the 1975 Miami Showband massacre in Buskhill, County Down, in which an Englishman

with a “posh voice” was said at the scene to have ordered the murder of five people.

Mr Kerr has traced records which indicate that Captain Nairac was in the Outer Hebrides, in Scotland, at the time on a fishing trip with friends.

He said: “Fishing estates records show he was there and they even tell you the flies he used and what trout he caught.

“He was a very clever man but I don’t think even he could be in two places at once.”

Six men have served sentences in the Republic of Ireland in connection with Captain Nairac’s murder although none of them revealed what happened to his body.

New pleas to find Sunderland soldier's body on 40th anniversary of murder by the IRA