Torrens Knight jailed for assault


Loyalist paramilitary Torrens Knight was jailed for four months at Antrim Magistrates’ Court today for attacking two sisters in a bar in Co Derry.

Knight (40) from Ashdale, Coleraine, was convicted last month of attacking sisters Caroline Nicholl and Rosemary Sutherland inside the Blackthorn bar in Coleraine on May 30th, 2008.

The court heard the sisters were standing at the bar when they were approached by Knight. Ms Nicholl was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and then kicked after Knight told her they had “some unfinished business to sort out”.

Ms Sutherland then tried to push Knight away but she too was punched in the face. Knight later claimed that he acted in self-defence.

District Judge Austin Kennedy rejected Knight's claim and told him in court today that he had acted as a bully and left the two women injured and traumatised. “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," he said.

“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.”

Knight was a member of the Ulster Freedom Fighters gang that burst into the Rising Sun bar in the Co Derry village of Greysteel at Halloween in 1993 and opened fire after shouting "trick or treat", killing seven people. The murders were in retaliation for the IRA's killing of 10 people in the Shankill Road bombing a week earlier.

Knight was also convicted of the murders of four Catholic builders in Castlerock earlier that year.

While in prison, he joined Billy Wright's Loyalist Volunteer Force. Having served seven years, he was released in 2000 as part of the terms of the Belfast Agreement.

Following last month’s verdict, Northern Ireland Secretary of State Shaun Woodward ruled that Knight’s actions represented a breach of his release licence and ordered that he be arrested and returned to prison.

The Life Sentence Review Commissioners are now examining the case to decide whether the suspension of the licence was justified and if Knight should serve out the remainder of his murder sentences.

Knight’s lawyers have indicated their intention to appeal the assault and disorderly behaviour charges once sentencing has been delivered.