Kingsmill campaigner died ‘without justice for her son’

Bea Worton’s son Kenneth one of 10 Protestant workmen shot dead in 1976

Beatrice Worton’s son Kenneth was among those killed in a sectarian massacre of 10 protestant workmen in 1976 near the Co Armagh village of Kingsmill. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Beatrice Worton’s son Kenneth was among those killed in a sectarian massacre of 10 protestant workmen in 1976 near the Co Armagh village of Kingsmill. File photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

The funeral of Kingsmill massacre campaigner Bea Worton (91) was told on Monday that she had “experienced the greatest pain that a mother could experience, that of losing a son you loved at the hands of evil terrorists.”

The “pain and love drove Bea to seek to remember Kenneth and to be true to her much loved son, seeking the last thing that she could do for him and that was justice. It is so, so sad that this nation has failed Bea as she has left this earthly life without seeing justice achieved for her precious son,” said Rev Nigel Reid.

Speaking at her funeral in First Markethill Presbyterian Church in Armagh he said she had “shared her love with her family and with victims of terrorism.”

He paid tribute to her “humble, determined quest for truth and justice. I pay tribute to her for the life and loyalty that set Bea apart as an inspirational woman. I often told Bea that she was an inspiration to me. And I pray that she will be long remembered in this community.”

Bea Worton’s son Kenneth (24) was one of 10 Protestant workmen murdered by the IRA in a sectarian massacre at Kingsmill, Co Armagh, in January 1976. The IRA did not admit to carrying out the atrocity.

Speaking last year at the country road near Newry, Co Armagh, where her son was lined up with work colleagues and shot dead, Ms Worton said those responsible should be identified.

“I want to see them all named. Just to see who we have been mixing with all these years,” she said.

“We always lived with our neighbours, I went to a mixed school... Kenneth would have mixed with anybody, in fact his best pals were all Catholics. He loved everybody.”

In one of her last interviews she said “I 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.”

In more recent years she campaigned to overturn a decision by the local council in Newry to name a park after IRA man Raymond McCreesh who, when arrested in 1976, carried one of the guns used in the Kingsmill murders. He died on the 1981 IRA H-Block hunger strike.

It is believed that some of those involved in Kingsmill massacre also took part in the 1998 Real IRA bombing in Omagh which killed 29 people.

Chief mourners at Mrs Worton’s funeral yesterday were her children Jennifer, Jacqueline, Denis, and Colin.