Release of Halloween killer slammed
The decision to release loyalist killer Torrens Knight from prison is an affront to democracy which has sent shockwaves through society, a Northern Ireland Assemblyman has said.
Knight was found guilty of 12 murders in the Troubles, including those of eight people in the 1993 Greysteel massacre.
The terrorist assassin, released early on licence in 2000 but put back behind bars last year for attacking two sisters, is now free again following a decision by the Sentence Review Commission.
SDLP MLA John Dallat claimed Knight had been treated with kid gloves.
"The damage done to democracy by this decision is horrendous and it will take a great deal of convincing that Torrens Knight should be back in the community," the East Londonderry representative said.
"When the wider community gave their consent to the early release scheme they did it on the understanding that anyone who broke the terms would be back in jail to serve the remainder of their life sentences. Most have stuck to those terms but Knight hasn't and people wonder why he has got away with it."
Knight was a member of the Ulster Freedom Fighters gang that burst into the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel village, Co Londonderry on Halloween 1993 and opened fire.
The killings are always associated with the chilling "trick or treat" phrase shouted by one of the gunmen before they started shooting.
Knight was also convicted of the murders of four Catholic builders in the nearby town of Castlerock earlier that year. Having served seven years in prison, he was released in 2000 as part of the terms of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.
He was locked up again after a judge last year found him guilty of punching Caroline Nicholl to the ground and kicking her before turning his fists on her sister Rosemary Sutherland in the Blackthorn bar in Coleraine.