Friends claim British security services betrayed Raymond Gilmour and left him to die in penury and squalour despite his pleas.
A man who informed on members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) to British intelligence agency MI5 has been found dead in Kent, it has been reported.
Raymond Gilmour, 55, was discovered at his flat by his 18-year-old son. The evidence from his badly-decomposed body suggested that he had been there for up to a week after dying of natural causes.
Mr Gilmour contributed to a case in 1984 which saw 31 members of the IRA paramilitary group arrested in his native Derry.
Following the collapse of the case, he was resettled in England where he was supported by security handlers and given a new identity.
However, in 2012, he came forward to complain about the settlement and the conditions of his new life away from Ireland. He claimed he was entitled to a financial sum, a new home, a pension and psychiatric support but he insisted that he had only been given modest accommodation and a small monthly allowance for three years.
A friend and fellow agent of Mr Gilmour, Martin McGartland, accused the system of letting him down.
“It is disgraceful that Ray died in these circumstances,” he told The Belfast Telegraph. “He spent years begging MI5 for financial and psychological help. Instead, they turned their back on him.
“He was a broken man, a wreck of a human being, and they left him to die in the gutter.”
The “supergrass” system was heavily utilised in Northern Ireland in the early to mid 1980s in a bid to counter an ever-increasing terrorist threat in the region. The Royal Ulster Constabulary chief at the time, Sir John Hermon, introduced what he called “converted terrorists” to help tackle the issue. It was quickly seen as a controversial plan, however, with graffiti springing up over the six counties denouncing “touts” and “supergrasses”.
As protests intensified, the system collapsed over concerns about the credibility of evidence and complaints from members of the judiciary system that they were being used as tools to help implement government security policy.