'Larry the chef' speaks out as case dropped in Northern Ireland
'I knew they had no case because I know I am innocent'
“Pearse was three-and-a-half when I last saw him,” said Zaitschek sadly. “And I miss him every single day since.”
Zaitschek, who now lives and works in New York since the incident, promises to focus all his energies on making contact with his lost son and will heed advise from his lawyers on whether or not he should return to Northern Ireland in the near future.
Zaitschek describes his life since the break-in as a constant battle.
“To be honest the most painful part of the whole thing was the separation from my son,” he said.
Zaitschek, who claims he has been harassed by the PSNI and has had his life threatened on several occasions, said the whole ordeal for past seven years has “hindered” him from moving forward with life.
“It has affected my ability to get job, my relationship with son, traveling, just every aspect of my life, and financially it’s devastated me also,” he said.
A few weeks after the break-in Zaitschek said FBI agents jumped him after getting off a subway in Manhattan. FBI agents and members of the special branch interrogated him.
“From then on my world just changed,” he said. “I’ve lost jobs because of it. I used to go on job interviews and then all would be great until someone would Google my name and there went the job.”
At one point Zaitschek’s relationship with IRA informant Denis Donaldson was up for question. But, said Zaitschek, he met Donaldson when he was living in New York in the early 1990s but didn’t see much of him after moving to Ireland. The last time he recalls seeing him was in 1997.
Zaitschek said he was shocked to find out that Donaldson admitted to being a British spy in 2005.
“I was very shocked when I heard he was apparently an informer. I never knew really what to believe about that,” he says.
While the PPS were looking for Zaitschek to be extradited back to Northern Ireland, he said after a while it “became obvious to me there a few years back that it didn’t seem like they were going to extradite me at all,” he said.
Yet he could never move on. His son was in Ireland, but if he went back to try and find him he risked being arrested for something he claims he never did.
“It has really been a non-stop battle,” he said. “The PSNI really interfered with my relationship with my son.
“I was very close to my son. I always wanted to be a father and when he was around me on a regular basis it was the happiest time of my life, I love him very much.”
Zaitschek said many questions must be answered to now.
“The whole thing was a sham from the beginning. Really just unbelievable what I’ve gone through and people, when I tell them, just can’t believe it,” he said.
Zaitschek feels that the PSNI had a political agenda all this time. “They were just trying to bring the peace process down. They had their own political agenda,” he said.
“I really miss Belfast and my family and friends over there. I can’t wait to go back, but I will await my lawyer’s advice on that one for now,” he said.
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