A ROGUE RUC officer helped UDA killer Torrens Knight move and hide a gun just weeks before it was used in the 1993 Greysteel ‘Trick or Treat’ massacre, it’s been claimed.
An East Derry politician claims he was allegedly passed information that the policeman, stationed at Coleraine RUC Barracks, recovered the automatic rifle from a spot being searched by his colleagues just before the Rising Sun atrocity.
SDLP politician John Dallat said he was told the constable – who was not believed to be working on Special Branch orders – was able to move the firearm – also used to gun down four men in Castlerock – after fishermen discovered the bag of UDA weapons on the banks of Hunter’s Mill, Aghadowey.
At the time the anglers reported the gun find to Mr Dallat, who passed the information on to police. An almost instant search was conducted around the Agivey River, but nothing was found.
Mr Dallat said he was later told by a serving member of the security services that was because police mistakenly scaled the wrong section of the bank. And that the blunder allowed the corrupt constable to go the area himself, recover the two high powered firearms and hand them straight back into the hands of the killer UDA/UFF gang.
Just weeks later, on October 30, 1993, Knight along with UFF killers Jeffrey Deeney and Stephen Irwin burst into the Rising Sun bar and murdered eight men and women.
As the killers sprayed the bar with bullets, Irwin shouted ‘trick or treat’.
Mr Dallat says it is his belief the horrific atrocity could have been prevented and given recent revelations on the Ulster Resistance weapons, says the “full truth” on Greysteel has yet to be heard.
“What I was told by a former serving member of the Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) was this man was a rogue RUC officer stationed in Coleraine at the time.
“This RIR man had previously served in Coleraine himself and he was disillusioned with the time he spent there, he was at a stage where he felt he wasn’t able to serve the purpose he joined it for.
“It was a number of issues he came to me with, separate to this information about this officer.
“Quite clearly if those guns had been recovered at that time it may have prevented Greysteel.
“One was high calibre and it was that gun that caused most of the damage.
“The find could have also led to the arrest of those who had control of the guns.
“In other words the gang might have been rounded up far earlier before multiple people were murdered.”
The revelation will add to a long list of unanswered questions as relatives and survivors prepare gather for the 24th anniversary of the atrocity this week.
That includes questions surrounding just how close security force personnell were to the killers at the time, including Torrens Knight, who is long suspected of being a paid police informant at the time, and after his release from jail.
Knight – now in his late 40s – was sentenced to 12 life sentences for the Rising Sun bar murders, and that of four Catholic workmen in Castlerock in March of the same year. Three of his UFF accomplices were also handed a number of life sentences for their part in Greysteel.
All were all released in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
In 2007 the Police Ombudsman said detectives did not have information which could have prevented the 1993 murders of eight people in Greysteel.
SDLP assemblyman John Dallat had made a complaint, saying crucial information he gave to detectives was not acted on.
Nuala O’Loan also found there was no evidence killer Torrens Knight was protected from the rigours of the law.
However Mr Dallat says that he believes the full truth of the attack at the Rising Sun bar is still to be uncovered.
“There are tens of thousands of military files sitting in a warehouse somewhere in England that will lay bare the answers to the many unanswered questions surrounding Greysteel, Castlerock and many other atrocities.
“I also believe that Torrens Knight, who masquerades around as a man who has found God, has much, more to tell.
“The campaign currently is to leave the past behind and move on, but not everyone can do that. The relatives of those murdered in Greysteel still suffer to this day.”
The politician added: “Victims must be told the truth about what happened, how it happened and who was involved.
“The government have been economical with the truth, they conspired to work with some of the most dangerous people loose in the community at the time and sadly flags still fly in honour of the vile organisations that did the murders.
“That is not right, it is never right and only when the final chapter is written can many people draw a line in the sand and begin the process of a new dawn, a new beginning where respect for each other is not just empty words at a political conference but the motto that drives us day and daily as we seek to rebuild and build anew.”
Last year this reporter spoke directly to Torrens Knight.
And the murderer – now a born-again Christian – says he hopes the province can enjoy a “genuine and meaningful peace”.
“After watching the BBC’s programme the other night about the Shankill bomb 25 years on, it is evident to see the terrible aftermath and legacy of the Troubles and the ongoing heartache and pain that the families on all sides carry,” he said.
“If there are any heroes from our terrible past it is, and must be, those who have paid the ultimate price and their families who carry that ongoing burden.
“And also all the emergency services who witnessed such brutal scenes and dealt with the aftermath of our unjustifiable actions.
“Hopefully a genuine and meaningful peace will be their reward.”