‘Workmate led us to a slaughtering match’

Alan Black was horrified to hear a colleague may have set him up to be shot. Pic: Pacemaker.
Alan Black was horrified to hear a colleague may have set him up to be shot. Pic: Pacemaker.

The sole survivor of the Kingsmills massacre says he is “horrified” that a workmate who usually travelled on the minibus ambushed by the IRA in south Armagh may have set them up to be murdered.

The inquest into the killing of 10 Protestant workmen in January 1976 heard yesterday that an official suspect in the killings, known as S104, normally travelled home on the workers’ minibus with them.

The bullet-riddled minibus in South Armagh where 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by IRA terrorists in the Kingsmill massacre. Photo: PA

The bullet-riddled minibus in South Armagh where 10 Protestant workmen were shot dead by IRA terrorists in the Kingsmill massacre. Photo: PA

Alan Black, who miraculously survived the attack despite being hit by 18 bullets, said: “This was the first time I had heard this and my mind has just gone into turmoil.”

The workmen were lined up against their minibus and gunned down near Kingsmills in south Armagh as they made their may home from work. The police have long blamed the IRA for the atrocity although it has never admitted responsibility.

When the gunmen asked if there were any Catholics on the bus, they protected the only Catholic Richard Hughes.

However one gunman then stepped forward in the dark and grabbed Mr Hughes and chased him away before they opened fire on the others.

Mr Black claimed that suspect S104 was probably the person who identified Mr Hughes.

“... how could you work with someone who... would do such a thing?” he asked.

“I am surmising that it was him, that he identified Richard and led the rest of us to a slaughtering match.

“I just never dreamt I would work with someone who would do a thing like that.”

Asked if he ever saw this suspect again, Mr Black replied: “I don’t know who he is.” He said he was trying to think who it might be and added that he couldn’t be certain.

One of the families’ lawyers, Alan Kane QC, said intelligence showed that S104 “usually travelled on the workers’ minibus”.

Mr Kane put it to the original senior investigating officer, retired DCI James Mitchell: “This suggests someone working in this factory set up his workmates in the slaughter at Kingsmills.” Mr Mitchell agreed.

Intelligence showed S104 was linked to 13 murders and was the brother of suspect S106. His name was given to the RUC 11 months after Kingsmills in an interview with a self-confessed IRA member.

Mr Mitchell could not recall seeing the interview but agreed it should have reinvigorated the probe.

Mr Kane also noted that S97 and S77 had been linked to 23 and 13 murders respectively but that both had been given on-the-run letters. Mr Mitchell said he was “surprised”. READ MORE.

The lawyer said the Garda had a palm print of S54 in 1976 which matched one found by RUC on the getaway van but that Mr Mitchell failed to make the link in 1976. But Mr Mitchell said this had not been his role.