FOUR Loyalist paramilitaries who carried out the Hallowe'en gun attack

on the Rising Sun bar were jailed for life yesterday at Belfast Crown


Seven people -- including two women -- were killed in the outrage at

the village of Greysteel, outside Londonderry, in October 1993. Another

man died six months later. Eight people were injured.

Survivors and relatives of the dead looked on as Torrens Knight, 24,

Jeffrey Deeney, 23, Stephen Irwin, 24, and Brian McNeill, 26, were

sentenced for their part in the UFF atrocity

But relatives of the victims were furious that the judge failed to

give a recommend a minimum term in jail.

The RUC disclosed after the trial that the man who planned the

slaughter of innocent drinkers was still free, as they did not have

enough evidence to charge him.

Detective Chief Superintendent Eric Anderson, who headed the inquiry

into the atrocity, confirmed: ''We caught the foot soldiers but, as has

happened in the past, we sometimes fail to get the godfathers.''

The outrage at the Rising Sun had appalled and disgusted all

right-thinking people in the Province, Lord Justice Carswell told the

four men, who stood to attention in the dock.

The shooting was one of the most callous and cold-blooded massacres in

the catalogue of so many heinous crimes in Ulster, he said.

The massacre was in revenge for the IRA bombing of a fishmonger's on

Belfast's Shankill Road a week before, which left nine Protestants dead.

It brought to 23 the number of people murdered in possibly Ulster's

grimmest week.

UFF bosses in Londonderry, under 24-hour surveillance because of

police fears of retaliation, demanded reprisal action on a similar


Irwin, armed with an AK47 rifle, was first in to the pub. As customers

prepared for a Hallowe'en dance, he shouted ''Trick or treat'', then

opened fire on a group of women out on a hen night.

Deeney followed, to give Irwin cover, but his gun jammed after he

fired just one shot -- otherwise the death toll could have been far


Knight, armed with a double-barrelled shotgun, stood guard outside,

and McNeill was the getaway driver.

The court heard that after the shootings McNeill drove Irwin and

Deeney away in his own Skoda car. Knight drove off in an Opel Kadett,

which he unsuccessfully tried to burn, before meeting the other three.

Within an hour of the shootings McNeill, a prime suspect, was under

arrest. RUC Chief Constable Sir Hugh Annesley said that was critical to

the overall police investigation, which at one stage involved 50


One was the head of Special Branch in that region, Detective Chief

Superintendent Maurice Neely, who was among 25 key police and military

intelligence officers who died last June in the Chinook helicopter

disaster on the Mull of Kintyre.

Irwin, Knight and Deeney, all hardened members of a unit which the UFF

considered its No 1 outside Belfast, were questioned and eventually

charged along with Irwin after what Sir Hugh yesterday described as ''an

outstanding piece of investigation''.

The four men pleaded not guilty to all charges when the trial opened

on Monday, but changed their pleas on Thursday.

Lord Justice Carswell said that, if the men had contested the charges

and been found guilty, he would unhesitatingly have made a

recommendation of a minimum period of time they should serve in jail.

The four were also given sentences ranging from 16 to 20 years for

attempted murder.

Knight, a roofer from Macosquin, near Coleraine, was given four

separate life sentences for his part in a UFF attack seven months

earlier in which four Catholic workmen, including an IRA man, were shot

dead in Castlerock, County Londonderry.

Deeney, Irwin and McNeill, a shirt-cutter, all live close to each

other in the Protestant Waterside area of Londonderry.

A fifth man, Derek Grieve, 25, of Londonderry, who admitted conspiring

to pervert the course of justice by providing Knight with a false alibi

on the night of the Greysteel attack, was given a two-year suspended


Those who died were Mrs Maura Duddy, 59; Mr James Moore, 82, whose son

owns the Rising Sun; Ms Karen Thompson, 19, and her boyfriend Mr Steven

Mullan; Mr John Moyne, 50, who was hit by gunfire as he protected his

wife; a former UDR soldier Mr John Burns, 54, a Protestant; and Mr Joe

McDermott, 60.

Six months after the attack 76-year-old Samuel Montgomery, who had

been treated for a fractured thigh bone after being shot, collapsed with

a blood clot and died at his sister's home.

Although many politicians at the time feared the province was as close

as it will ever be to civil war, Sir Hugh insists that the situation was

never out of control.