Belfast Telegraph

Willie Frazer wants talks with republican over Kingsmills massacre

By Suzanne Breen

IRA victims' campaigner Willie Frazer has said he wants to hold face-to-face talks with the republican accused of involvement in the Kingsmills massacre.

It has been alleged that a palm print found on the getaway van used in the 1976 gun attack belongs to Colm Murphy, who was found liable for the Omagh bomb in a civil trial. The Dundalk publican has strongly denied any involvement in Kingsmills.

Mr Frazer said: "I want to sit down with Colm Murphy. I'm not looking for a slanging match, I just want to discuss the situation with him. I am willing to go to Dundalk or wherever he would like to meet.

"He says he is being scapegoated by the authorities in order to prevent the truth from coming out at the inquest and to protect Sinn Fein.

"Well, I'm willing to listen to his side of the story, and if he's an innocent man, then there's no reason why he would not meet with me."

Meanwhile, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal that the families of the 10 men murdered were previously told that at least five sets of forensic tests on the palm print found in the vehicle had resulted in no matches. The tests were carried out in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2014.

In a document seen by this newspaper, dated March 5, 2014, the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) asked the Forensic Service to carry out tests on the print.

"The case is high-profile and subject to intense scrutiny surrounding the original investigation," the letter says.

"It is requested that the palm print be examined for DNA traces and that, in the event of a profile being developed, it be checked against suspects named in intelligence and whose palm prints have been compared.

The test was ordered as part of "Operation Yermo" and the cost of the palm print examination is reported as £1,666.

In email correspondence on January 21, 2009, the HET's fingerprint bureau states that a match had been sought for a left palm print of one person with "negative results".

Last week, the inquest into the Kingsmills massacre heard that a potential suspect was identified following the re-examination of a palm print.

Mr Frazer said: "The PSNI need to start explaining very quickly how this match was only found now. They haven't given any reason at all as to why it was apparently missed in the past. If they don't do so, the families will be suing for negligence because, if the police missed something as major as this, what else have they overlooked or omitted?"

The inquest into the IRA massacre has been adjourned until June 21 while detectives investigate a suspect identified by a palm print.

Colm Murphy has stressed that he was not named in any police or military files relating to Kingsmills.

However, Mr Frazer said that, while this was true, the Dundalk republican could be identified through cross-referencing details in security documents about the previous convictions of a person known as Suspect A.

The IRA victims' campaigner added: "This is why I'd like to talk to him. It's not a case of 'any republican will do'.

"Much as I oppose Colm Murphy's politics, I'm not interested in pursuing an innocent man. It's the guilty that we want to see behind bars.

"I think it's handy for some to focus exclusively on Colm Murphy because he is a critic of Sinn Fein. There are other suspects who remained firmly within the mainstream republican fold.

"But if Colm Murphy has nothing to hide, he should man up and sit down and talk to us."

Belfast Telegraph

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