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Kingsmills inquest: It took me 40 years to weep for my son, reveals elderly mother of slain workman

By Cate McCurry

Published 25/05/2016

Beatrice Worton, (right), the mother of victim Kenneth Worton, arrives at Belfast Coroners Court accompanied by relatives
Beatrice Worton, (right), the mother of victim Kenneth Worton, arrives at Belfast Coroners Court accompanied by relatives

It took more than 40 years for Beatrice Worton to shed a tear over her son's brutal murder.

Kenneth Worton was one of 10 Protestant workmen killed as they made their way home in what later became known as the Kingsmills massacre.

The 89-year-old slowly made her way to the witness box in Laganside court room 13, aided by a friend, where she spoke candidly about her 24-year-old son.

Sorrow etched across her face, she revealed how she cried for Kenneth just days ago for the very first time while reading a statement she gave shortly after the IRA attack on the minibus in January 1976.

She described how she "bottled it all up" and that for 40 years the families of the 10 workmen slaughtered that night have been kept in the dark.

The frail grandmother said she would love to see the "godfather" behind the ambush.

Some 24 hours before the attack, loyalists murdered three members of the Reavey family in nearby Whitecross and three members of the O'Dowd family in Ballydougan.

While the workers discussed taking an alternative route home that night because of the murders, they decided against it, saying there was no direct threat.

Taking to the witness stand, Mrs Worton said her son became a foreman at the Glenanne textile factory shortly before his death.

"He had a wife and two girls who were aged one and six. He was doing all he could for them," she added. "I don't know anything about it, I want to hear all that is to be said because we were told nothing.

"I could not cry when he was killed and I've not cried since, I have bottled it all up. I could not shed a tear until I read my statement on an iPad. That was a few days ago. I was crying my head off and I got it all out then."

She also described how his then six-year-old daughter was the apple of his eye, and how she laid the table every night for him.

"But he never came home when he should have. She had to put the knife and fork back in the drawer," she said.

"He was buried a couple of miles from their home and she went through a hole in the hedge to get to the graveyard and she talked to him. It's sad."

Barrister Neil Rafferty, who represents several families of the victims, said the "massacre disgusted everyone in the area".

He asked Mrs Worton if she expected justice. "We would love to but I doubt it," she answered.

"We ask questions but get no answers. I would ask those men why they did it. I would love to see who the godfather was who put them up to it. Why did 10 men have to die? I would ask them to say sorry, that would help me.

"My best friends in work were Catholic, they could not do enough for me."

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