Tag Archives: Castlerock Killings

Torrens Knight – Natural Born Killer

Torrens Knight

Image result for Torrens Knight pictures

– Natural Born Killer –

 

Torrens Knight (born 4 August 1969) is a Northern Ireland loyalist, who belonged to the North Antrim and Londonderry Brigade of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA).

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UDA Flag

In 1993 he took part in the Greysteel massacre (in which eight civilians were shot dead) and the Castlerock killings (in which three civilians and a Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member were killed). After being convicted—along with three others—for the killings, he served seven years in the Maze Prison before his release in 2000 under the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

 

Disclaimer 

The views and opinions expressed in these pages/documentaries are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

Early life

Knight spent his formative years living at his grandmother’s farmhouse in the rural area of Aghadowey after the split of his parent’s marriage. In adulthood he developed an addiction to poker gambling machines which resulted in his exposure of stealing money from his grandmother to fund his habit.

As a result of this he was asked to leave the home and subsequently moved to the mostly Protestant town of Portstewart. Living with a loyalist, he started drinking alcohol and involving himself with criminality.

Paramilitary Activity

His initial starting point within loyalism was selling a magazine for a loyalist prisoners association. He progressed to the ranks of the UDA and carried out acts like robberies and punishment beatings. Knight was part of a four-man UDA group sent to conduct an attack in revenge for the Shankill Road bombing.

 

Trick or Treat

Their target was the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel, where Knight, Stephen Irwin, Jeffrey Deeney and Brian McNeill shot eight dead (six Catholics and two Protestants). After the leading gunman, Irwin shouted “Trick or treat”, he and Deeney raked the bar with gunfire, while Knight, armed with a shotgun, stood at the door. 19 other people were injured. McNeill was the driver of one of the cars used after the shootings.

 

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UFF Flag

The attack was claimed by the “Ulster Freedom Fighters”, a covername used by the UDA.

Knight was given eight life sentences for his part in the killings and a further four more for the killing of an IRA member and three Catholic civilians in CastlerockCounty Londonderry. He served seven years in the Maze Prison before paramilitary prisoners were granted a general release under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000.

Allegations of being an informant

According to David McKittrick, there had been rumours that Knight had been a police informer. Suspicions have been voiced by John Dallat, a member of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).

Dallat, who said he was in touch with police about Knight before the attacks in Greysteel and Castlerock, claimed they might have been prevented since it was known Knight was an extremist.

In 2000 Knight attracted the attention of staff at a bank where he was withdrawing large amounts of money from an account into which £50,000 a year was being paid. The bank’s concern was that Knight was involved in money laundering, but, when police were contacted, an assurance was given that everything was in order.

The money was said to be from a Scottish engineering firm, but the account was quickly closed down.

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Nuala O’Loan

Police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan investigated Dallat’s claim that police had prior information about Greysteel, stating that there was no evidence this was the case. She also stated that Knight’s conviction and sentence led her to believe that he was not being protected by police, but added that it was beyond her remit to investigate whether or not he was a paid informer.

Alleged membership of Apprentice Boys

In 2008 Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard claimed that Knight was a member of the Kilrea branch of the Apprentice Boys. It was claimed that Knight took part in a parade in Kilrea and laid a wreath at the cenotaph in the village.

The Kilrea branch of the Apprentice Boys denied this as did Knight himself. A spokesman stated that Knight wasn’t a member and that they will demand an apology and explanation from Sinn Féin.

Knight also stated that John Dallat and Billy Leonard are taking part in a ‘hate campaign’ against him and challenged the nationalist politicians ‘to get off his back’

2009 conviction

In October 2009 Knight was found guilty of assaulting two sisters in a bar in Coleraine As a result, his early release licence was suspended and he was returned to jail.

He was later sentenced to four months jail for the assault. The judge said:

“The injuries sustained were consistent with a vicious attack on the two women and of particular concern in this case is that you kicked Ms Nicholl while she was on the ground, prone and unable to defend herself…. People who do that can expect no mercy or sympathy from these courts.

You acted as a bully when you approached these sisters. You lost control and lashed out”.

After Knight was returned to prison in 2009 it was revealed that Trevor Collins, a member of Jim Allister‘s Traditional Unionist Voice political party from Garvagh, was collecting signatures campaigning for his release from prison. The TUV said it would not be taking action against Collins for instigating the petition.

 

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Knight was released on 6 August 2010

 

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See:  The Greysteel Shootings

 

See:  Castlerock Killings

See: Shankill Bombing

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Greysteel

Confessions of serial killer Torrens Knight

Recording reveals loyalist’s life of drugs, crimes and sectarian murder

Notorious ‘trick or treat’ killer Torrens Knight has spoken frankly about his life of crime, drug abuse and sectarian murder.

The once defiant, gloating loyalist gunman says his life “spiralled out of control” when he joined the UFF and he knew the Greysteel massacre was wrong.

But the born-again Christian, 46, has also admitted that he relished being in the UDA/UFF, saying: “I was on a road to destruction but I liked it because it fuelled my anger.

“I looked upon the UDA as my family. It was sad in a way but that’s how I looked at the UDA.”

 

Co Londonderry man Knight – the most infamous of the Greysteel killers – has spoken candidly of his life as a terrorist in a 33 minute audio testimony made for a Christian group and broadcast online on the same site that published the testimony of Ballymena ‘glued lips’ killer Adrian Hayes.

Choking with emotion on occasions, Knight tells how he descended from being a poker machine addict who took cash from granny’s purse, to becoming a UDA robber and enforcer before joining a UFF murder squad.

Aged 24 he led the UFF gang that shouted “trick or treat” before raking the Rising Sun bar with machine gun fire in Halloween 1993.

A 19-year-old woman and an 81-year-old man were among the eight people mercilessly killed in the sectarian slaughter at the village pub on Saturday, October 30.

Following his arrest TV pictures of an unrepentant Knight screaming abuse and defiance outside Limavady courthouse were beamed around the world.

Bible-basher Knight now says that his snarling, hardman stance was all a front.

He planned to go on the run but says he knew in his heart the atrocity in the pub was wrong and allowed police to arrest him.

Speaking at a Gospel meeting, Knight began by telling fellow Christians of his early days, living with his God-fearing granny on a farm in Aghadowey when his parents’ marriage broke up.

Knight’s life began to go wrong when he became addicted to poker machines at a local pub.  He took cash from a purse where his granny kept money for church missions and his gran and furious dad told him to pack his bags.

He moved to Portstewart with a pal from a hardline loyalist background who had been told to leave his family home when he started going out with a Catholic girl.

“I went to Portstewart to live. I started drinking and going out. I lost the influence and fear of my father.

“One thing led to another. I had anger issues. I would say I had a chip on my shoulder and I got involved in criminality.

“A few years later I got involved in an organisation. I started off just going round the doors selling magazines for the LPA (Loyalist Prisoners Association) and lifting money. I enjoyed it.

“Then I progressed. I moved up into the UDA, going round the doors wasn’t enough. I started doing robberies and beatings, things like that. But that still wasn’t enough. I wanted to go further.

“I progressed to the UFF, which was really the murder teams of the loyalist paramilitaries. My life just spiralled out of control.

“I joined the organisation to fight against the IRA who I saw as the enemy and it just progressed and progressed. It was a scary time.

“I got involved in shooting and ended up killing not only IRA men but also killing innocent people. That was a thing I never ever thought I would do. I never planned it.

 

Aftermath: RUC officers outside the Rising Sun bar where Torrens Knight murdered eight innocent people on Halloween night 1993.
Aftermath: RUC officers outside the Rising Sun bar where Torrens Knight murdered eight innocent people on Halloween night 1993.

“But that’s just sin. Once you go down the road of sin, it sucks you in, it can just take over.

“It was just like I was going down a road of destruction. And I liked it because it fuelled my anger,” said the man who was also jailed for the killings of four men in Castlerock in 1993.

He said he looked on the UDA as his family.

“I was part of something. I felt special. I had boys who would watch my back and I would do the same for them.”

Knight talks about “eyeing up” a Provo for assassination for a few days prior to the Greysteel murders but he now thanks God that the man did not turn up.

“Then the Shankill bomb happened and orders came down the line something big was going down, that we were to cancel what we were doing. And I was asked to take charge of the team that were going to carry this out.

“The place that was picked was the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel. I didn’t question it.”

He said he would have done anything he was asked to do by UDA leaders at that point.

“At that time we were so, in a way brainwashed, that’s being truthful. We believed what we were doing was right.”

After the pub massacre Knight considered going on the run but instead effectively gave himself up.

“I had a gut feeling when the ‘job’ was carried out that something wasn’t right.

“I was actually ready to go on the run and go into hiding but there was something in here [he thumps on his heart a number of times] that didn’t sit right with me.

 

“I says ‘I’ll man up’ because I knew they [police] were looking for me. A pile of my mates had been lifted. I saw the police in Macosquin and I just stood and they took me and another chap away.”

Knight said he had been interrogated by CID at Castlereagh Holding Centre previously and regarded it just as a game which he enjoyed. He never thought the cops would ‘get under his skin’ but this time was different.

He added: “I tried to put on this hard exterior, I tried to justify it but deep down I knew it wasn’t right, these innocent people, it wasn’t right.

“And I think that’s what helped break me too because I knew it wasn’t right.”

He talks about spending time in the Maze jail on remand after “wrecking the Crum (Crumlin Road Gaol)” and finding drugs in easy supply.

“It was a scary place. It was a mad place. It was full of mad men. I thank God he brought me through it all.”

Knight says he “dabbled” in drugs prior to going into the Maze but cannabis became a way of life in jail.

“Whenever we went into prison unfortunately drugs were readily available and that’s the way we put in our days in, smoking weed and getting stoned.”

The multiple killer, who was given 12 life sentences, said: “I suppose it [the drugs] were a way of us dealing with what we were going through because it was traumatic, our lives were just turned upside down. It was a form of escapism.”

In his testimony Knight, who is understood to work for a joinery firm on the North Coast, tells how he found God while serving time in prison.

He says his partner Carolyn also came to the Lord after seeing how he had changed. At times he chokes with emotion as he talks about his life and the role of God in his life. The killer admits that on occasions he has backslid, saying “he took the hand off the plough”.

After being given early release under the Good Friday Agreement terms he was later returned to jail for assaulting two women and disorderly behaviour in a Coleraine bar. But he says he now thanks God he was jailed for a second time.

Choking up, he says: “I had drifted away from God and that’s why I got into the mess that I did.  I was one of those men who the Bible talks about, a man who had taken his hand off the plough.

“Since then I cry a lot. God touched me in a special way. God has had to break me a few times but he hasn’t broke me to destroy, he has broke me to build me up again, to teach me.”

The audio of Torrens Knight’s full testimony was recently uploaded to the website of Set Free Prisons Bangor.

See Belfast Telegraph for full story

 

 

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Castlerock Killings – 25th March 1993

Castlerock Killings

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25th March 1993

The Castlerock killings took place on 25 March 1993 in the village of CastlerockCounty LondonderryNorthern Ireland. Members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), a loyalist paramilitary group, shot dead three civilians and a Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteer as they arrived for work. Another was wounded. The men were all Catholics.

The five men were builders and had been renovating houses in the Gortree Park housing estate for some months. As they arrived in their van at Gortree Park, at least two gunmen jumped out of another van and opened fire.

— Disclaimer –

The views and opinions expressed in this post/documentaries  are soley intended to educate and provide background information to those interested in the Troubles of Northern Ireland. They in no way reflect my own opinions and I take no responsibility for any inaccuracies or factual errors.

 Those killed were James McKenna (52), Gerard Dalrymple (58), Noel O’Kane (20) and Provisional IRA volunteer James Kelly (25).

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25 March 1993


James Kelly,   (25)

Catholic
Status: Irish Republican Army (IRA),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.

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25 March 1993
 James McKenna,  (52)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.

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25 March 1993


Gerard Dalrymple,  (58)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.

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25 March 1993
Noel O’Kane,  (20)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot during gun attack on van, as he arrived at his workplace, renovating houses, Gortree Park, Castlerock, County Derry.

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The gunmen drove off toward Castlerock before doing a U-turn and passing their victims again. The van used by the gunmen was found burnt-out two miles from the attack.

Later in the day, the UDA shot dead a Catholic civilian Damian Walsh and wounded another at Dairy Farm Shopping Centre in Belfast.

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25 March 1993


Damian Walsh,   (17)

Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ),

Killed by: Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
Shot at his workplace, Dairy Farm Shopping Centre, Twinbrook, Belfast.

See: 25th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

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The UDA claimed responsibility for the attack using the covername “Ulster Freedom Fighters” (UFF) and said the men were republicans.

 Sinn Féin councillor Patsy Groogan said the men were regularly stopped and harassed by the security forces and that he had:

“no doubt that this behaviour played a part in targeting these men for assassination”.

The weapons were later used by the same gang in carrying out the Halloween Greysteel massacre at the Rising Sun pub on 31 October 1993. It has been claimed that one of the gang was a double agent and protected by RUC Special Branch.

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Torrens Knight

Torrens Knight received eight life sentences for the Greysteel massacre, together with four more for the Castlerock killings. He served seven years in the Maze Prison before paramilitary prisoners were granted a general release under the Belfast Agreement.

 

See:  The Kingsmill Massacre – 5 January 1976

See: 25th March – Deaths & Events in Northern Ireland Troubles

Warrington Bombs 1993 – IRA Child Killers

 Warrington Bombs

February & March 1993

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Warrington Bombing

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Tim Parry

The Warrington bombings were two separate bomb attacks that took place during early 1993 in Warrington, England. The first attack happened on 26 February, when a bomb exploded at a gas storage facility. It caused extensive damage but no injuries. While fleeing the scene, the bombers shot and injured a police officer and two of them were then caught after a high-speed car chase.

The second attack happened on 20 March, when two small bombs exploded in litter bins outside shops and businesses on Bridge Street.

Two children were killed and dozens of people were injured.

 

Johnathan Ball

 

The attacks were carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and it has been claimed that members of Red Action were also involved.[2] Since the early 1970s the IRA had been carrying out attacks in both Northern Ireland and England with the stated goal of putting pressure on the British Government to withdraw from Northern Ireland.

The 20 March bombing received extensive coverage in the media and caused widespread anger, leading to mass protests against the IRA in Dublin.

First attack

 

On the night of 25 February 1993, three IRA members planted bombs at the gas holders on Winwick Road, Warrington. At 11:45 pm that night a police officer stopped the three men in a van on Sankey Street. As he was questioning them, the IRA members shot him three times and sped off in the van.

About an hour later they hijacked a car in Lymm, put the driver in the boot and drove off towards Manchester. At about 1 am police spotted the car and chased it along the M62 motorway in the direction of Warrington. Shots were fired during the high-speed chase and two police vehicles were hit. Police stopped the car on the motorway near Croft and arrested two of the IRA members: Páidric MacFhloinn (age 40) and Denis Kinsella (age 25).

The third member, Michael Timmins, escaped.At 4:10 am on 26 February the bombs exploded at the gas holders, sending a fireball 1,000 feet (300 m) into the sky and causing extensive damage to the facility. The emergency services arrived and evacuated about 100 people from their homes. There was much disruption to transport that morning as police set up roadblocks and trains were diverted away from Warrington. 

In 1994, MacFhloinn was sentenced to 35 years in prison and Kinsella to 25 years for their part in the bombing. John Kinsella (age 49) was sentenced to 20 years for possessing Semtex explosives that he had hidden for the IRA unit.

 

Second Attack

 

 

Site of the second bombing

 

Johnathan Ball

 

Shortly before midday on 20 March 1993, The Samaritans in Liverpool received a bomb warning by telephone. According to police, the caller said only that a bomb had been planted outside a Boots shop. Merseyside Police sent officers to branches of Boots in Liverpool and warned the Cheshire Constabulary, who patrolled nearby Warrington.

About 30 minutes later, at about 12:25,  two bombs exploded on Bridge Street in Warrington, about 100 yards (91 m) apart. The blasts happened within a minute of each other. One exploded outside Boots and McDonald’s, and one outside the Argos catalogue store.

The area was crowded with shoppers. Witnesses said that:

“the first explosion drove panicking shoppers into the path of the next blast just seconds later”.

 

It was later found that the bombs had been placed inside cast-iron litter bins, causing large amounts of shrapnel Buses were organized to ferry people away from the scene and 20 paramedics and crews from 17 ambulances were sent to deal with the aftermath.

 

 

Three-year-old Johnathan Ball died at the scene. He had been in town with his babysitter, they had been shopping for a Mother’s Day card. The second victim, 12-year-old Tim Parry, received the full force of the blast and was gravely wounded. He died on 25 March 1993 when doctors switched his life support machine off, having asked permission to do so from his family, after tests had found minimal brain activity.

Fifty-four other people were injured, four of them seriously.

The Provisional IRA issued a statement the day after the bombing, acknowledging its involvement but saying:

Responsibility for the tragic and deeply regrettable death and injuries caused in Warrington yesterday lies squarely at the door of those in the British authorities who deliberately failed to act on precise and adequate warnings.

A day later, an IRA spokesman said that “two precise warnings” had been given “in adequate time”, one to the Samaritans and one to Merseyside Police.

He added: “You don’t provide warnings if it is your intention to kill”.

Cheshire’s assistant chief constable denied there had been a second warning and said:

Yes, a warning was given half-an-hour before, but no mention was made of Warrington. If the IRA think they can pass on their responsibility for this terrible act by issuing such a nonsensical statement, they have sadly underestimated the understanding of the British public.

A piece on BBC North West’s Inside Out programme in September 2013 speculated that the bombing may have been the work of a “rogue” IRA unit, which was supported by the IRA but operated independently and was driven by left wing extremism and who used operatives who were from England to avoid suspicion.

The programe  suggested, but provided no evidence, that those who planted the bombs were members of the leftist group Red Action.

Aftermath

 

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IRA Child Killers

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The fact “that two very young children were victims — one of whom fought for his life for several days” ensured that the 20 March bombings received:

“massive coverage” in the media and caused “widespread anger and revulsion”.

 

Shortly after the bombings, a group called “Peace ’93” was set up in Dublin. The main organizer was Susan McHugh, a Dublin housewife and mother. On 25 March 1993, thousands held a “peace rally” in Dublin. They signed a condolence book outside the General Post Office and laid bouquets and wreaths, with messages of sorrow and apology, to be taken to Warrington for the boys’ funerals.

However, some criticized Peace ’93 for focusing only on IRA violence and for:

“the lack of response to the deaths of children in Northern Ireland”.

 

 

On 24 March 1993, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) shot dead a Sinn Féin member in Belfast. The next day, it shot dead four Catholic men (including an IRA member) in Castlerock and hours later shot dead a 17-year-old Catholic civilian in Belfast.

Roy Greenslade wrote that, compared to the Warrington bombings, these deaths were “virtually ignored” by the media in Great Britain and he accused it of having a “hierarchy” of victims.

On 1 April 1993, the Irish Government announced measures designed to make extradition easier from the Republic of Ireland to the UK.

In 1994 Irish rock band The Cranberries released the song “Zombie“, which was written in protest at the bombings. The song went on to become one of their biggest hits.

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Colin Parry carries his sons coffin

The parents of Tim Parry set up the Tim Parry Trust Fund to promote greater understanding between Great Britain and Ireland The Tim Parry-Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace worked jointly with the NSPCC to develop The Peace Centre, situated close to Warrington town centre, which was opened on the seventh anniversary of the attack in 2000. Its purpose is to promote peace and understanding amongst all communities affected by conflict and violence. The centre hosts an annual peace lecture, as well as being home to the local NSPCC and Warrington Youth Club.

The killing of Ball and Parry is still on Cheshire Police’s list of unsolved homicides

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The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace is a charity that campaigns only for one thing … Peace

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Who We Work With

Working to prevent conflict with people vulnerable to it, affected by it and those professionals who are tasked to deal with it

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Visit the website: www. foundation4peace.org

See: Castlerock Killings