Northern Ireland

Kingsmills suspect 'travelled in same bus', court hears

The 10 victims of the Kingsmills massacre
Image caption Ten workmen, aged from 19 to 58, were murdered by the IRA at Kingsmills in 1976

An inquest has been told that a man who regularly travelled on the minibus at the centre of the Kingsmills Massacre was subsequently named as one of those involved in the attack.

The revelation came during questioning of a senior detective who led the investigation into the murders.

Ten Protestant men were shot dead by the IRA in the attack in County Armagh in 1976.

They were shot after gunmen stopped their bus on their way home from work.

The inquest heard on Wednesday about a list of names of those involved in the attack, supplied by a self-confessed IRA man in December 1976.

Among those named on the list was a man given the cypher "s104".

Image caption The victims were shot after IRA gunmen stopped their bus as they travelled home from work

He had "usually travelled" on the minibus with the other workmen said a barrister for the families of the victims.

This could mean that he was involved in setting up his workmates for slaughter, he added.

The list of names was put to the detective who led the investigation following the murders.

Det Ch Insp James Mitchell said he could not confirm whether or not he had seen it before, but he identified all of those named as members of the Provisional IRA.

He added that most, if not all of them, would have been living in the Republic of Ireland and so would have been beyond the reach of the RUC as on the whole the government in the Republic of Ireland were not co-operating when it came to extradition.

The former senior officer was asked about his resourcing, given that it has been reported that 1,000 officers are involved in the recent Manchester suicide attack investigation.

He said the manpower available to him was totally inadequate with nine additional detectives sent from Belfast for only a period of weeks.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The minibus in which the victims had been travelling was riddled with bullet holes

Last Friday Det Ch Insp Mitchell apologised to the victims' families for not getting the satisfaction they had hoped for.

He said the "workload at the time" and "depleted resources" led to weaknesses in the investigation.

In 2011, a review of the case was carried out by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET).

The HET investigation established that no evidence remained.

It also said that some of the original evidence had been destroyed in a fire at the laboratory eight months after the killings.

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