Kingsmill inquest to re-open ahead of summer recess

June 20, 2016

The Kingsmill Massacre Inquest is set to open again tomorrow (Tuesday 21st June) after a two week adjournment to allow police to pursue a new lead in the investigation which emerged just a week after the inquest into the atrocity began.

But the emergence of the new forensic evidence – a palm print found on a getaway van used in the attack – coupled with the onset of the summer recess on June 30th looks set to delay the hearing into the autumn.

The long awaited inquest into the murders of 10 protestant workmen in south Armagh on January 5th 1976 has so far heard the witness statements of the sole survivor of the attack, Bessbrook man Alan Black, and of those who were at the horrific scene along with details of a suspect list dating back to 1977.

Mr Black has said he feels that Judge Brian Sherrard was correct in adjourning the inquest for two weeks to give the PSNI time to investigate but he admits that over the protracted process he has come to expect nothing from the PSNI.

“I have spoken with Karen Armstrong over the days of the inquest and we just want the inquest done right, not just quickly, it has to be done right.  This is our last shot at this,” said Mr Black.

The off duty RUC officer who attended the scene also gave evidence at the inquest, as a witness and as a nephew of one of the victims, Robert Freeman.   Trevor Cartmill confirmed that no RUC investigation approached him for a statement.

“Looking back now, it is really quite unbelievable how little the RUC did at the time from Kingsmill and the Reaveys, “ Mr Black added.

“We will be watching and waiting to see what happens next.”

Barry O’Donnell, legal representative for the Kingsmill families has praised the coroner for keeping the inquest up and running with the pending police investigation but confirmed that the inquest had some way to go before full disclosure is achieved.  He expects that to begin in the autumn when the court will hear from the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), forensics, ballistics, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Gardai.