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23 February 2006 Edition

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Greysteele killer Paid by PSNI

The revelation that convicted Greysteele killer Torrens Knight was a Special Branch agent being paid £50,000 a year by his Special Branch handlers after his release from prison has again exposed the British collusion with unionist paramilitaries.

It has emerged that Knight, sentenced to life imprisonment for 12 UDA killings carried out in 1993 was receiving £50,000 a year through a bogus account set up by Special Branch following his release in 2000.

Knight was convicted of murdering eight people in Greysteele, County Derry and four workers, including IRA Volunteer Jimmy Kelly in Castlerock, County Derry.

Links between Knight and Special Branch came to light when bank officials became suspicious after the loyalist withdrew large sums of cash, claiming to be working for an engineering firm in Scotland. The accounts were later closed after bank officials raised their suspicions with the PSNI.

The Police Ombudsman's Office is examining allegations that Special Branch under the leadership of Ronnie Flanagan, shielded Knight before the Greysteele massacre, in Halloween 1993.

According to information in the media Knight's Special Branch handlers moved two high-powered rifles, which were discovered by anglers at Hunter's Mill, near Aghadowey shortly after the four Catholic workmen were killed at Castlerock, in an attempt to protect Knight.

The weapons were later used by Knight's UDA gang in the Greysteele massacre.

Sinn Féin East Derry MLA Francie Brolly said the news that Knight was still in the pay of Special Branch after his release from prison and that their colleagues removed weapons used in sectarian killings in order to protect him should warrant a public inquiry.

"There are many more questions to be answered about Knight but also about the role played by Ronnie Flanagan and his accomplices in Special Branch in the cover up of sectarian killings in the East Derry area."

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