16 December 2005

Dallat is quizzed in UFF death squad inquiry

Belfast Telegraph

By Clare Weir
16 December 2005

An Assembly member has been questioned by the Police Ombudsman over alleged police collusion in the Castlerock and Greysteel massacres.

SDLP East Londonderry Assembly Member John Dallat said he was quizzed over information he gave to police about the killer gang thought to be behind both atrocities.

Four workmen were shot dead by UFF gunmen at Castlerock in March 1993. The following October eight people were murdered in the Rising Sun bar at Greysteel - crimes that Dallat said last night "could have been averted" because of information he gave about Torrens Knight, one of the UFF men convicted for the Greysteel murders.

Mr Dallat also expressed concern that the OTR legislation currently going through the Westminster parliament may scupper an investigation into possible collusion in both cases.

"Both Greysteel and Castlerock could have been averted had this been dealt with properly. The police officers I was dealing with were good honest men but they were up against an intelligence network.

"I raised serious concerns about the existence of a UFF gang headed by Torrens Knight whom I knew was based in Macosquin," he said.

Although he said a police raid took place, the Castlerock shooting followed.

He added: "In the period between March and October I was repeatedly assured that the killer gang was being carefully monitored in its movements and this appeared to be backed up by a 24-hour checkpoint on both bridges in Coleraine for a prolonged period.

"Unfortunately the plan failed and a further eight people lost their lives at Greysteel before arrests were made."

Mr Dallat added that his calls for investigation into claims that Knight was a member of the Force Research Unit formed part of the Police Ombudsman's inquiry.

The Police Ombudsman confirmed yesterday that Mr Dallat had been interviewed and that more witnesses could be questioned in the coming days.

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