Loyalist killer found guilty of assault


Notorious loyalist killer Torrens Knight was today found guilty of assaulting two sisters in a bar room attack in Coleraine.

Knight, who was convicted of 12 murders during the Troubles, including those of eight people in the infamous Greysteel massacre, could now see his early release under the Belfast Agreement revoked.

A district judge in Coleraine Magistrates’ Court convicted Knight of punching Caroline Nicholl to the ground and then kicking her before attacking her sister Rosemary Sutherland inside the Blackthorn bar in the Co Derry town last May.

Knight was a member of the Ulster Freedom Fighters gang that burst into the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel, Derry on Halloween in 1993 and opened fire.

The killings are always associated with the chilling “trick or treat” phrase shouted by one of the gunmen before they started shooting.

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

Given 12 life sentences he was released in 2000 as part of the historic peace deal.

Both sisters today described how 40-year-old Knight, from Ashdale, Coleraine, had confronted them
inside the bar and declared he had some “unfinished business” to sort out with them.

Ms Nicholl said she told him to "f*** off".

“The next thing I knew he had hit me in the face,” she told Judge Austin Kennedy.

She said he then proceeded to kick her all over her body while she was on the ground.

Her sister Ms Sutherland said Knight then turned his aggression on her when she attempted to intervene.

“I tried to push him away from my sister and then he closed his fist and hit me in the face a couple of
times,” she said.

During the day-long trial, it was revealed that in the wake of the incident Knight had admitted to police that he struck the women, albeit he alleged in self-defence.

He told officers when interviewed: “If a woman is big enough to punch she’s big enough to get punched back - that’s my view.”

But Judge Kennedy rejected the loyalist’s claim that he had only "lashed out" after Ms Sutherland threw the first punch.

“I don’t accept he was protecting himself,” he said.

Convicting him on two counts of aggravated assault and one of disorderly behaviour, Mr Kennedy
postponed sentencing until reports were filed.

The decision on whether to revoke his early release licence is a matter for the British government.