Kingsmill survivor appeals for attackers to come forward

April 11, 2016

The sole survivor of the massacre of 10 workmen in south Armagh 40 years ago says he hopes those involved in the killings will come forward in a bid to “ease [their] own conscience before passing on.”

Bessbrook man Alan Black, says the new inquest into the murders, set to begin on May 23rd, is the last chance for closure in the case.

“It has gone past the point of calling for anyone to be punished. This is about getting to the truth,” said Mr Black

“It has been like a raw wound for 40 years and this is about bringing some form of comfort to the families.”

His comments came as the Coroner’s Service released a statement last week urging anyone with information to come forward.

Mr Black, who is now 72, added: “The gunmen were probably around the same age as myself, so we are now looking at our own mortality.

“You would want to ease your own conscience before passing on.”

Alan Black survived one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles, after been shot 18 times and left for dead alongside the lifeless bodies of his 10 work mates, who were gunned down when the bus they were travelling in was ambushed near the village of Kingsmill on the 5th January 1976. No-one has ever been convicted of the murders, which were widely blamed on the IRA, even though the organisation never admitted responsibility.

Mr Black has always maintained that “agents of the state” were involved in the killings.

The original inquest into the killings, in 1978, lasted just 30 minutes and recorded an open verdict, but after a 40 year campaign for justice by Mr Black and victims’ families, the new inquest was ordered by Northern Ireland’s Attorney General, John Larkin, in 2013.

The Coroner’s Service appeal for information, issued last week, said: “There may, for example, be persons with relevant information concerning the deaths but who have not yet brought that information to the attention of the authorities.

“There may be persons who were arrested in connection with the deaths and who wish formally to renounce any connection with the matter.

“Or there may be persons who have been mentioned in connection with these deaths or who have regarded themselves as under suspicion in relation to the deaths, who wish formally to renounce any suggestion of their involvement or who have information that may assist the coronial inquiry.

“Any individual who has information in relation to the deaths, or who wishes to clarify their position in relation to the deaths, is asked to email or write to the Coroners Service for Northern Ireland”.