Published Date: 16.10.2007
A Police Ombudsman investigation has established that police did not have any prior knowledge which could have helped them prevent the terrorist attack in Greysteel.
On 25th March 1993 the UFF carried out an attack in Castlerock killing four workmen. Five men had just arrived in their van on a housing estate where they had been carrying out renovation work for several months. At least two gunmen jumped out of a separate van and fired a series of shots, killing four of them. On Halloween night that year, two masked men burst into the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel and fired a series of shots. An estimated 200 people were in the bar that evening. Seven people died at the scene and an eighth person died later.
The Police Ombudsman's Office received a complaint from the SDLP MLA for the area, John Dallat, that information he had given to police following the incident at Castlerock, which if acted upon, could have prevented the terrorist attacks. Mr Dallat also alleged that the Loyalist Torrens Knight, who was jailed for life for both the Castlerock and Greysteel attacks but was eventually freed under the Good Friday Agreement, was a Security Forces agent who was protected from the law.
Police Ombudsman investigators took a detailed statement from Mr Dallat in which he outlined the information he said had given to police officers. They also interviewed the officers named in Mr Dallat's statement and conducted an extensive review of the RUC investigation files in relation to both the Castlerock and Greysteel shootings and other material.
The Police Ombudsman, Mrs Nuala O'Loan, said the investigation found no evidence to support Mr. Dallat's allegations. 'Unfortunately Mr. Dallat was unable to provide supporting information, either in terms of copies of documents or details of the times, places or the exact person to whom he provided each piece of information. I understand Mr. Dallat may have felt that to keep such records could have compromised his safety, but the lack of such detailed evidence impacted upon the investigation.
My investigators have interviewed all three officers mentioned in Mr. Dallat's complaint. These officers are now retired. All three fully cooperated with the investigation. In each case they recall meetings with Mr. Dallat. However when asked if Mr. Dallat provided information to them during the period 1991-1993 which could have help prevent the terrorist attacks at Castlerock and Greysteel they each say they have no recollection of this. My investigators examined the RUC investigation files for the murders at Castlerock and at Greysteel and other relevant files.
The files do not contain any record of information received from Mr. Dallat. Nor do they give any evidence police had information which could have allowed them to predict or prevent the terrible events in Castlerock or Greysteel,' said Mrs O'Loan.
The Police Ombudsman also said she could not confirm or deny whether any person is a police informant. The issue of whether or not he was a security force agent' as alleged was not within her remit. She said her investigators did not find any evidence that Torrens Knight was protected from the rigours of the law. She said there was evidence to the contrary, since he was convicted of both the Castlerock and Greysteel murders.