Victim’s sister urges killers to give answers to Kingsmill inquest

File photo dated 02/01/16 of Karen Armstrong holds a photograph of her brother John McConville who was killed in the Kingsmill attack. Mrs Armstrong has appealed to his killers to search their conscience and give answers to the long-delayed inquest
File photo dated 02/01/16 of Karen Armstrong holds a photograph of her brother John McConville who was killed in the Kingsmill attack. Mrs Armstrong has appealed to his killers to search their conscience and give answers to the long-delayed inquest

The sister of one of the Kingsmill victims has appealed to his killers to search their conscience and give answers to the long-delayed inquest.

Karen Armstrong, whose brother John McConville was murdered, said she was not surprised by the decision not to prosecute a man whose palm print was allegedly found on a suspect getaway van.

But she raised questions on the timing of the apparent print match on the police database - just as the inquest got under way last year - and asked why it had been missed in the previous 40 years.

“We fully accept that the PSNI had to be allowed to pursue this line of inquiry unhindered and we have fully supported the PSNI in this investigation,” she said.

“However the timing of the PSNI raising this match with the coroner on the second day of the inquest opening unfortunately raised suspicions as to why they suddenly made this match after 40 years.

“This is bearing in mind that the RUC had missed this vital opportunity on at least three previous occasions and the Garda Siochana on at least one occasion.

File photo dated 05/01/76 of the bullet riddled minibus in South Armagh where 10 protestant workmen were shot dead by IRA terrorists. A man whose palm print was allegedly found on a suspected getaway vehicle used in the Kingsmill massacre will not be prosecuted

File photo dated 05/01/76 of the bullet riddled minibus in South Armagh where 10 protestant workmen were shot dead by IRA terrorists. A man whose palm print was allegedly found on a suspected getaway vehicle used in the Kingsmill massacre will not be prosecuted

“Whilst we have found this decision disappointing, we have not been surprised and our focus must now be on the resumption of the inquest which will allow us to deal with many outstanding questions surrounding the murder of our brother John.”

Mrs Armstrong, speaking on behalf of her sisters Mandy and Tania, said: “The missed opportunities by police surrounding the palm print raise some very serious questions as to how professional police services in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland both could have missed the palm print on at least four occasions.

“We have to ask if these missed opportunities were by design?

“Our brother John was a young man who had a faith in God and prayed with his neighbours in times of crisis - both Catholic and Protestant.

“John had been accepted for Bible college and was ready to serve the same God that the gunmen may believe in. These men made a choice on 5 January 1976 that has fundamentally affected the families of John and his colleagues ever since.

“The perpetrators have had 41 years to reflect on this and may have had regrets. We as a family make an appeal to the gunmen, or any other person that was involved in any way - if you are reading this statement and have any information which could help, then we appeal to you to make contact with the coroner’s office through a third party or to some other channel.”

Mrs Armstrong’s lawyers KRW Law said: “The missed opportunities concerning the palm print is a serious concern which will be raising within the inquest hearings.

“We will be analysing the recent decision of the PPS and intend to write to the PPS requesting further explanation of this decision.”

Also read: Kingsmills sole survivor: I don’t believe there will ever be justice

Man will not be prosecuted over Kingsmills massacre palm print