Northern Ireland

Kingsmills massacre: Police inquiry re-opens after fingerprints matched

The victims
Image caption A palm print found on a getaway vehicle has been matched to a set of fingerprints

Police are to re-open their inquiry into the Kingsmills massacre following the discovery of new evidence.

A palm print found on a getaway van has been linked to a set of fingerprints.

The new evidence comes 40 years after the killings by an IRA gang and 13 years after the families began fighting for an inquest.

Ten Protestant men were shot dead in the massacre by an IRA gang near the County Armagh village of Kingsmills in 1976.

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Media captionColin Worton, a brother of a Kingsmills victim, reacts to news of new police investigation

Colin Worton, whose 24-year-old brother, Kenneth, was one of the men killed, said the announcement that the PSNI would re-open the investigation was a "total shock".

"I have to be truthful to you", he told the BBC, "I do feel a mixture of emotions, but one of the worst ones I have is anger.

'Sickened'

"Why has this taken more than 40 years to come out?"

He called the men who fired the shots "animals" and said he was "totally sickened" that the investigation has gone on so long.

The men who were killed were travelling home from work in a textile factory when their mini-bus was ambushed.

After checking their religion, the gang ordered one Catholic to leave before opening fire.

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Image caption Ten protestant workmen were shot by an IRA gang in the massacre

Only one man survived the shootings.

Alan Black, a 32-year-old father of three at the time, was seriously wounded and spent months recovering in hospital.

On Tuesday, an inquest into the deaths resumed following a short delay.

A senior investigating officer has now been allocated to the case and the criminal investigation re-opened.

Difficult time

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, head of the PSNI's legacy and justice department, said he appreciated this was "a very difficult time" for the victims' families.

"Due to a recent forensic development, detectives from legacy investigation branch are now following a line of inquiry in relation to the murders at Kingsmills in 1976", he said.

"We have been liaising with the coroner's office in relation to this and will continue to do so.

"We are committed to progressing this matter as expeditiously as possible and will keep them (the families) updated as appropriate."

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