Belfast Telegraph

Mum of Kingsmill victim who 'fought the good fight' in quest for truth dies at 91

Bea Worton
Bea Worton
Kenneth who was killed by the IRA in the Kingsmill massacre
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

The son of victims campaigner Bea Worton has told how his mother "had a long life, but not a very happy one" following his brother's death in the Kingsmill massacre.

Colin Worton also revealed how Mrs Worton, who passed away in hospital on Friday evening at the age of 91, was targeted by trolls as a result of her tireless fight for justice.

And he said that "words are truly not enough" to honour how his mum "fought the good fight".

Kenneth Worton (24) was shot dead alongside nine other Protestant workmen after the minibus they were in was stopped by the IRA near Whitecross in Co Armagh on January 5, 1976.

Following his murder, Mrs Worton campaigned for justice for the Kingsmill victims with Colin, who yesterday paid a moving tribute to his mother's "dignified quest for truth and justice".

"Every family has to bury loved ones, but for a mother to hear of a child's death, and especially in the way that my mother's child died, was very hard for her," he told this newspaper.

"But my mother carried on hoping to see justice for her son, and continued to attend the Kingsmill anniversary every year with family, Pastor Halliday and the late William Frazer, who were close personal friends."

Describing his mum as a "decent person", Colin said that, unfortunately, she "got very little truth and justice that she so tirelessly campaigned for".

"From the many people she met in her quest for justice, it seems to me that she was seeking justice from the unjust," he added.

He told how his late mum "also suffered abuse due to her campaign, from vile phone calls and sick videos, to evil, sad people wishing her dead".

"A lady in her nineties, a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and great-great grandmother, should not have had to endure such evil and hatred," Colin said.

"Our great, great mother is at home with her Saviour now. Our loss here on earth is our mother's gain in heaven.

"No more pain, no more insults and no more sorrow.

"She is at peace and one day she will receive the truth and justice that she so longed for. Our mother was, and indeed is, an inspiration. She was a legend. Words are truly not enough. She fought the good fight, trusted God. She is safe in the arms of Jesus."

Mrs Worton called for those behind the Kingsmill massacre to be publicly named, and in 2017 she took legal action against Newry, Mourne and Down District Council over the naming of Raymond McCreesh Park.

McCreesh was reportedly in possession of a rifle used in the killings when he was captured later that year.

DUP leader Arlene Foster said she met Mrs Worton on several occasions and was struck by her "compelling and powerful determination to get justice for her son".

"She was someone who became a campaigner out of necessity. I am so sorry she has passed away without justice for her son who was so brutally murdered at the Kingsmill massacre," Mrs Foster said.

"I want to pass on my deepest sympathy to her family at this difficult time."

Kenny Donaldson from the South East Fermanagh Foundation said Mrs Worton was "a special lady who inspired and who plucked the consciences of those who should know better and who must do better".

"Bea Worton carried her pain with immense dignity down the years," he said.

"She battled long and hard for justice and she was a constant in standing up for what is right -her tenacious spirit was admired by very many people.

"Her name is synonymous with the Newry playpark issue, where she took on the local council in the courts and defeated them.

"Bea was a regular attender of the Kingsmill inquest, she craved justice and accountability for the sectarian-motivated murder of her son Kenneth and nine other innocents by the Provisional IRA.

"Sadly she passes not having seen the end of the inquest."

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last year, Mrs Worton admitted that she had never got over her son's death.

She added: "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."

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