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Holy Knight Brutal sectarian killer Torrens Knight 'finds God'

Friday marked 27 years since Knight led a UFF death squad to storm the Rising Sun bar where eight people – including a 19-year-old woman and 81-year-old man – were slaughtered.

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Snarling: Torrens Knight’s disgusting moment of defiance following his arrest

Snarling: Torrens Knight’s disgusting moment of defiance following his arrest

Snarling: Torrens Knight’s disgusting moment of defiance following his arrest

These extraordinary pictures show notorious Greysteel ‘Trick or Treat’ killer Torrens Knight turning to God.

The sectarian mass murderer who once united Northern Ireland in disgust hangs his head as a Christian pastor uses his hands to ‘heal’ the infamous UFF gunman with prayer.

In exclusive images obtained by the Sunday World, Knight, now 51, is also pictured preaching at the pulpit of his Coleraine church about the importance of following Jesus.

He is also snapped attending Gospel celebrations at the small Upper Victory Room Church, where he is involved in community barbeques and family Christmas events in the Co Derry town.

The snaps of the loyalist gunman’s God-fearing transformation, however, may sicken some of the families of those he callously blasted to death during one of the darkest periods of the Troubles.

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Torrens Knight preaching from his Coleraine church

Torrens Knight preaching from his Coleraine church

Torrens Knight preaching from his Coleraine church

Friday marked 27 years since Knight led a UFF death squad to storm the Rising Sun bar where eight people – including a 19-year-old woman and 81-year-old man – were slaughtered.

Many more were injured in the 1993 Halloween horror as the loyalist killing gang shouted “trick or treat” before raking the inside of the village pub with machine-gun fire.

The attack was carried out in retaliation to the IRA’s devastating bombing of Frizzell’s fish shop on the Shankill Road seven days before where nine people, including two children, were murdered. One of the Provo bombers was also killed in the blast.

In shocking TV footage beamed around the world, a snarling 24-year-old Knight was later filmed screaming abuse and defiance outside Limavady courthouse following his arrest for the cold-hearted killings.

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Snarling: Torrens Knight’s disgusting moment of defiance following his arrest

Snarling: Torrens Knight’s disgusting moment of defiance following his arrest

Snarling: Torrens Knight’s disgusting moment of defiance following his arrest

He was subsequently handed 12 life sentences – eight for his part in the pub murders and four more for the March 1993 massacre of four Catholic workmen in the Co Derry seaside town of Castlerock.

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Three of his Rising Sun bar UFF accomplices – Jeffrey Deeney, Stephen Irwin and Brian Neil – were also handed prison terms for their part in the bar atrocity.

Knight served just seven years before being released under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000.

Regarded as one of Ulster’s most notorious sectarian murderers, the UFF killer first shared his newly found devotion to Christ in 2014, five years after being locked up for a second time.

In 2009, he was jailed for four months for a “nasty and vicious” attack on two women when he confronted them in a bar in Coleraine in March of the same year.

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Torrens Knight speaking with Patricia Devlin

Torrens Knight speaking with Patricia Devlin

Torrens Knight speaking with Patricia Devlin

The court heard one woman was punched in the face, knocked to the ground and then kicked after Knight told her they had “some unfinished business to sort out”.

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

But Antrim District Judge Austin Kennedy refused to believe him, telling Knight he had acted as a bully, leaving both women injured and traumatised. It was following his release for that attack that he first spoke about finding faith in front of the congregation of a Christian church group.

In a testimony delivered at Coleraine’s Elim Pentecostal Church, Knight also opened up about his murderous past.

He also said he knew the Greysteel massacre was wrong.

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Aftermath: The Rising Sun bar after Torrens Knight and his gang killed eight people

Aftermath: The Rising Sun bar after Torrens Knight and his gang killed eight people

Aftermath: The Rising Sun bar after Torrens Knight and his gang killed eight people

Knight, now married with his own family, described how he descended from being a poker machine addict who stole cash from his granny’s purse to becoming a UDA robber and enforcer. He then joined a UFF murder squad.

He also revealed that following the Rising Sun massacre, he planned to go on the run but says he knew in his heart the pub atrocity was wrong and allowed police to arrest him.

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

“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.

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Aftermath: The Rising Sun bar after Torrens Knight and his gang killed eight people

Aftermath: The Rising Sun bar after Torrens Knight and his gang killed eight people

Aftermath: The Rising Sun bar after Torrens Knight and his gang killed eight people

“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 as a game which he enjoyed.

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 also talked 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.

The multiple killer said: “I suppose it [the drugs] was 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.”

He said that although he had found God in prison, he “drifted away” and was thankful to have been jailed for a second time.

“I was one of those men who the Bible talks about, a man who had taken his hand off the plough,” he said.

“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.”

Speaking to the Sunday World in 2018, Knight, who now uses the name ‘Robert’, called the killings he carried out as “unjustifiable”.

“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.”

Responding to Knight’s comments at the time, SDLP MLA John Dallat urged the terrorist killer to “come clean” on allegations he worked as a double agent for both the UFF and MI5 during his 1993 killing spree.

The SDLP stalwart had tirelessly campaigned for truth and justice on behalf of the UDA group’s victims until his death earlier this year.

“If Torrens Knight is really sorry he can demonstrate the real meaning of contrition which demands restitution.

“Of course people cannot be brought back to life again but he can expose those who masterminded the campaign which directed him and his cohorts to go murdering at Castlerock and Greysteel as well as picking off individuals.

“By doing that he can prevent the same thing happening again and he can facilitate action which stops Britain burying many other atrocities which were masterminded by their agents.”

The politician added: “Torrens Knight holds the key to unlocking the insight to one of the worst periods of genocide that took place in this part of Ireland during the 80s when up to 21 people in the north Antrim and east Derry area lost their lives.

“He cannot reconcile his new relationship with God while at the same time planning to take to his grave the secrets he has about who ran the dirty war.”

The Greysteel killings were carried out in retaliation for the Provisional IRA’s merciless Shankill Road bombing seven days previous where nine people, including two children, were murdered.

IRA bombers Sean Kelly and Thomas Begley disguised themselves as deliverymen to carry out the attack at Frizzell’s fish shop.

They had planned to force the customers out at gunpoint before planting a bomb but the device exploded prematurely, killing Begley.

Last week, family members of those injured and killed in the massacres quietly marked another year on from the devastating atrocities.

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