'I feared my brother had been killed'- horror of Greysteel massacre recalled

AN Assembly candidate in East Derry has told how her blood ran cold after she feared her brother was caught up in the Greysteel massacre on October 30, 1993.

Orla Beattie, who is the youngest Assembly candidate standing in the March 7 elections, was 14 at the time of the atrocity, when a UFF murder gang burst into the Rising Sun Bar and sprayed Hallowe'en revellers with automatic gunfire.

Seven people were killed, while an eighth person later died from their injuries in hospital.

The Glack woman, who works as a teacher, recalls the terror in her family home when news of the terrorist attack broke.

"I was only 14 at the time and I can remember that terrible feeling to this day," she told the 'Journal' yesterday.

"We knew that my brother had been planning to go to the bar that night with his friend and we had no way of contacting him because mobile phones weren't about in those days.

"You can imagine we were terrified that he had been caught up in it, but luckily he got held up in Ballykelly otherwise he would have been there.

"My dad knew all the people who were killed that night and it had a really hard impact on our family. The bar is only ten minutes' drive from my house and every time I pass by it you are always reminded of what happened, because it still looks the same today as it did then."

Orla says she feels strongly that police should re-arrest and charge Greysteel killer Torrens Knight with withholding information from police in relation to the murders.

And she says Knight - originally from Coleraine - also failed to provide police with full details about the deaths of four Catholic workmen - including IRA volunteer James Kelly - during a gun attack in Castlerock on March 25, 1993.

"Knight withheld the names of some of his loyalist cronies who were involved in the Greysteel and Castlerock massacres. These people have never been charged.

"The officer who led the murder hunt, Detective Superintendent Eric Anderson, later admitted that the man police suspect ordered the Greysteel massacre was never brought to justice."

The SDLP candidate says the probe into the Greysteel and Castlerock murders by Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, will "always be hindered" because Ms O'Loan's office does not have the powers to force MI5 to "reveal the names of its informers who were involved in these bloody events."


"Torrens Knight is also holding back information about the role played in these atrocities by MI5 and I am calling on him to be re-arrested and charged with withholding information."

The Ulster Freedom Fighters claimed the Greysteel gun attack was carried out in revenge for an IRA bomb on the Shankill Road in Belfast in which 10 people died a week previously.

Knight received eight life sentences for the Greysteel massacre, together with four more for the murders of the Catholic workmen killed seven months earlier in Castlerock.

He served seven years in prison before being released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. Last year it was claimed that Knight was an RUC Special Branch informant at the time of the 1993 killings.