| 8.2°C Belfast

Loyalist killer Angus Knell who played role in Good Friday talks to be buried

Close

Tribute: Billy Hutchinson

Tribute: Billy Hutchinson

Tribute: Billy Hutchinson

The funeral of a convicted loyalist killer who took part in the Good Friday Agreement talks will take place tomorrow.

Angus Knell from Newtownabbey, who was aged in his 70s, died on Friday night.

He served a 15-year sentence for the 1976 murder of Catholic barman Eugene McDonagh and later joined the PUP-led talks team in the run-up to the 1998 Agreement.

In 1997 Knell was questioned about the murder of Raymond McCord Jr, who was beaten to death in north Belfast that year by a UVF gang.

His father, Raymond McCord Sr, did not wish to comment last night.

At the time he accused former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam of ordering Knell's release to keep the PUP at the talks table.

PUP leader Billy Hutchinson said Mr Knell had played a constructive role after leaving prison.

"When he was in the party he was a good member and he worked hard," he said. "He was in the background during the Good Friday Agreement talks but he contributed quite a bit to it.

"So it's sad to see anybody passing. It's always a difficult time and we would like to recognise the contribution he made to the talks.

"His role was more about how he actually worked with people outside of the Agreement and bring them along, particularly those in paramilitary organisations.

"In many ways, when you're moving on your own it's very difficult. But when you move on with others who believe in where we need to go in terms of the peace process, it's much easier."

A family notice said the great-grandfather was survived by his partner Deborah and children Tom, Paul, Darren, Aaron, Kyle, Leanne, Natalie, Samuel and the late Ian and Samuel.

A funeral service will be held at his home on Cashel Drive on Tuesday at 12.45pm before proceeding to Carnmoney East Cemetery.

Belfast Telegraph