FORMER IRA supergrass Raymond Gilmour is to be buried today five weeks after his decomposed body was found in a flat in England.
Family friends say the 55-year-old’s body has finally been released despite the exact cause of death still not known.
Close RUC friend Chris Norman told Belfast Daily: “Ray’s family have been given permission by the Coroner to bury him without a death certificate.
“The toxicology report is in progress but it will probably take months to complete. The exact cause of death is yet unknown.’’
Gilmour’s funeral will take place today at 1 pm in Ramsgate Cemetery, Thanet in Kent.
Added Mr Norman: “Ray’s wish was always to have a small funeral in Kent as he loved it and called it home. It will be a small, morally religious funeral at Ray’s request.’’
Gilmour was found on Thursday, October 27, by his 18-year-old from a previous marriage, his body decomposing where he died.
The discovery was made after he failed to respond to messages and calls from his family and friends.
Mr Norman said Gilmour may have been dead for up to four weeks before he was found last month in his flat.
“He wasn’t answering his phone for weeks and I just thought he had gone to ground as the Police Service of Northern Ireland were looking for him,’’ he added
Belfast Daily revealed last month that Gilmour was on the verge of being arrested by Kent police on behalf of the PSNI.
He was wanted by the PSNI’s Terrorist Investigation Unit for withholding information about the alleged activities of Martin McGuinness.
The PSNI were liaising with Kent police to have him brought in last month to a station in Gillingham.
He was facing arrest after he gave his Belfast solicitor a statement saying that he would reveal all about convicted IRA member Martin McGuinness and his alleged involvement in a number of murders.
His solicitor handed the letter over at Gilmour’s request to a detective chief superintendent in charge of the TIU at a police station in east Belfast.
His solicitor told Belfast Daily: “I had been liaising between Ray and the PSNI for quite some time now.
“He wanted me to be present at the forthcoming interview in England.
“The chief superintendent told me that Ray was going to be arrested for withholding information about certain crimes he had mentioned in his letter, particularly those he alleged against Martin McGuinness, the deputy First Minister.
“I was awaiting confirmation from the Northern Ireland Office that I could have a right of audience with Ray during his interview.
“Sadly, and very tragically for his family, Ray was found dead. His death has hit his friends very hard. They described him as a very brave man,’’ added his solicitor.
Gilmour had become a lonely figure in recent years, with his life spiralling into chronic alcoholism.
He was also suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Codenamed ‘Agent Romeo’ by his RUC Special Branch handlers, he could not return home to Derry for fear he would be killed by the IRA or dissident republicans.
Gilmour had been living in England under a new identity for the past 30 years after he gave evidence against fellow IRA and INLA members back in the early 1980s which became known as the ‘supergrass trials’.
His information rocked the IRA in Derry with so many members arrested on the foot of his word bombings and shootings ended in the city.
Gilmour was the only witness in the supergrass trial of 35 INLA and IRA suspects but it collapsed in 1984.
The then Lord Chief Justice Lord Lowry dismissed Gilmour’s evidence as being “unworthy of belief.”
Two years ago, in an exclusive interview with Belfast Daily, Gilmour said that he would tell police the name of the man who killed census worker Joanne Mathers in the city over 30 years ago.
Gilmour said he would also reveal the name of the woman who supplied the gun used int he murder.
The mother-of-one was shot dead in 1981 as she collected census forms in the Waterside area of the city.
Speaking from his then hideaway home in England, Gilmour told Derry Daily he had recalled the information about the woman following the publication of his book “What Price Truth?”
“This woman, who was a good looking girl in her day, came over from the Shantallow area and walked to the Waterside in the east to provide the gun.
“The murder weapon was a .357 Magnum revolver which had been stolen from the home of a part-time RUC officer.
“This girl was a courier for the IRA in the city. She never came to the attention of the police which allowed her to move easily from the west bank to the east bank of Derry.”
Gilmour said during the interview he would reveal the name of the woman who “couriered” the gun and the “man who shot her.”
He added: “I believe on the strength of my statements all three people should be arrested and questioned. If not, then I am just wasting my time.”
Tragically, because of his deteriorating health over the past number of years, he has taken his secrets to his grave.
Gilmour’s book ‘What Price Truth?’, a sequel to his first called ‘Dead Ground’, had become one of the top selling books on Amazon.
Sales also rocketed when news of his death broke last month.
In his interview, Gilmour told us: “Martin McGuinness is now the Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland but he appears to have forgotten all about his past in Derry.
“I mean, he was the man who taught me and republicans in Derry anti-interrogation techniques to prepare us for our arrest by the RUC and British Army.”
Gilmour said he was never asked to provide any information on McGuinness when it came to his “supergrass” trial.
Gilmour first joined the INLA when he was 17 working as a covert agent for RUC Special Branch.
After a fallout, he left the INLA and joined the IRA in 1980, passing back information on Provo players and operations.
However, two years later his cover was blown when police used information he supplied to recover a machine gun.
“I brought the INLA to their knees in Derry, I brought the IRA to their knees in Derry and I saved countless lives,” he said.
At the time of the interview, Gilmour said he felt ”abandoned by the police, MI5 and the State”.
He also feared the IRA would catch up with him one day.
But he said he was ready for them – and he had secretly bought a handgun and ammunition to protect himself as he was refused a personal protection weapon.