Greysteel murderer Torrens Knight has lost his appeal against his conviction and four-month jail sentence for assaulting two sisters in a bar nearly two years ago.
Antrim County Court Judge David Smyth QC rejected a claim by 40-year-old Knight from Ashdale, Coleraine, that he had acted in self-defence during a row in the Blackthorn Bar in the town in May 2008.
Knight served seven years in jail for the murders of eight people at the Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel, Co Londonderry, and four workmen in Castlerock in 1993. He was freed from prison in 2000 under an early release licence but that was suspended after his conviction for the Coleraine attack.
The sister claimed that Knight punched them in the bar after claiming he had “unfinished business” with them.
But Knight claims the sisters called him a “murdering scumbag b******” and called his wife a “tramp”.
Judge Smyth said he accepted there was bad blood between Knight's family and the sisters and that he did not seek a confrontation wiith them in the pub. He said, however, that he believed Knight had lashed out at them after losing his temper and his self-control when the sisters told him “to f*** off”.
The judge said Knight may have been provoked by the sisters but he completely overreacted and that he was satisfied that the vast majority of the injuries inflicted on the sisters — Rosemary Sutherland and Caroline Nichol — were inflicted by Knight in anger and frustration and not in self-defence.
Judge Smyth said a report from a probation officer that the likelihood of Knight reoffending was not a matter for him and should be addressed to the Secretary of State.
Lawyers for Knight confirmed after the hearing that they were continuing with appeals to have Knight released from prison by the Life Sentence Review Commissioners.
The sisters were not in court yesterday to hear the ruling but SDLP Assemblyman John Dallat said he was relieved that the court did not overturn the original verdicts. He urged the parole board not to order his release.
Knight said nothing after the judge's ruling but gave a thumbs up sign to relatives in the public gallery as he left the court.