Belfast Telegraph

Kingsmill victim's mum: My hurt over MP's gag and prank calls

By Victoria Leonard

The 89-year-old mother of murdered Kingsmill worker Kenneth Worton says she has been "hurt to the back bone" by Barry McElduff's actions - and revealed she has received cruel prank phone calls mocking the Co Armagh atrocity.

Bea Worton only revealed her ordeal to her family yesterday. She did so after victims campaigner Willie Frazer told how he and the Family Research & Policy Unit had been plagued by prank calls demanding "10 slices of Kingsmill bread" for the past six months.

Mr Frazer said that he and his group have received between 40 to 50 abusive calls related to the Kingsmill atrocity.

Bea Worton said that, as well as the hurt caused by Sinn Fein MP Barry McElduff posing with a loaf of Kingsmill bread on the anniversary of the massacre, she too had been a victim of nuisance calls.

"I have had calls asking for 10 slices of Kingsmill bread for toasting - that must have been last October or November," she revealed.

"I have also had calls where they are laughing loudly, saying: 'You think you are smart and you will do harm to us'.

"In others they laugh hysterically when I pick up the phone and I know what's coming, so I put the phone down.

"It's very hurtful, it's just distasteful. I would say I have had nine or 10 calls in all, up to just before Christmas.

"The fact that they are doing this to me makes me think that they are hurting, that they have something on their conscience which is making them try to hurt me, but I won't let them do that."

Brave Bea's son was just 24 when he lost his life in one of the bloodiest atrocities of the Troubles.

"Kenneth was a young dad with two children aged three and six - they had to grow up without a father," Bea said.

"I still think about Kenneth every day, and I have his picture sitting here in the house beside me. I brought him into the world and brought him up as best I could.

"At my age, you just have to get on with it. I don't want my family to worry about me. I'm nearly 90, I have a tough skin.

"I get strength, I pray for it and that's that."

Courageous Bea condemned Mr McElduff's actions, adding: "It hurts people to see him making a mockery out of those 10 deaths.

"I'm just hurt to the back bone, honestly. It's not right.

"Lots of ones who have done simpler things than that have been put out of their jobs - he gets a three month holiday with pay."

Meanwhile, Bea's son Colin slammed the "cowards" who have been persecuting his elderly mother, claiming they have "re-traumatised" her.

"My mum said she had received calls with the same content as those that Willie Frazer got," he said.

"I was dumbfounded. My mum is a very private woman who has shown immense dignity.

"I'm totally sickened, shocked and angry. What kind of people would do that to a great-granny?

"I don't know what sort of upbringing they have had. They are cowards.

"The whole incident is still going round in my head."

Colin said that the Kingsmill families had met with DUP leader Arlene Foster at Mr Frazer's Markethill office yesterday, and had asked her to report the phone calls to the police.

Reacting to the news that Sinn Fein had decided to suspend Mr McElduff for three months, Colin accused them of "speaking with a forked tongue".

"I thought he was going to be put out, but then they turn around and treat him like a child by just withdrawing his privileges for three months," he said.

"It's laughable. The only thing that is comforting is that the majority of people feel the same as we do. There are still decent people out there."

Mr Frazer revealed that some of the prank calls had come through to his Co Armagh office when the families of those murdered in the Kingsmill atrocity were visiting in search of support.

When challenged, Mr Frazer said that one heartless caller laughingly replied: "Oh, they're already toast."

"How sick do you have to be to do something like that?" he asked. "On a couple of occasions the families have overheard what has been said.

"Sometimes they say they need 10 slices of Kingsmill bread and they want me to complain about them not doing a full loaf. My wife picked up one call when the caller said he had burnt the last 10 slices of Kingsmill bread, then started laughing.

"When you are standing at the side of the road where the murders happened, as we were at the memorial service last week, and see people in tears you see just how offensive it is."

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