Omagh trial republican rejects Kingsmill involvement
HIGH-PROFILE republican Colm Murphy has rejected claims he was involved in the Kingsmill massacre, saying he has never been approached by cold case detectives.
The Co Louth man, who was jailed in connection with the Omagh bomb but later cleared on appeal, was speaking as a memorial service was held to mark the 40th anniversary of the atrocity.
Gunmen ambushed a minibus near the village of Kingsmill in Co Armagh in 1976 and shot dead 10 Protestant workmen after separating out the only Catholic among them.
One man, Alan Black, survived despite being shot 18 times.
A police Historical Enquiries Team investigation found that 11 weapons were used, including armalites and a Sten gun, and the IRA - then officially on ceasefire - had been responsible.
The gunmen were believed to have escaped over the border, with the getaway van discovered in Co Louth the following day. No-one has ever been convicted.
A day earlier the the UVF had murdered three members of the Reavey family in Whitecross, Co Armagh and three members of the O'Dowd family in Lurgan.
The HET named six men charged with other offences involving the weapons used at Kingmill, but Colm Murphy was not among them.
Loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson claimed this week that the Co Armagh-born republican had played a role in the attack and that those responsible were protected.
However, speaking to the Irish News yesterday, the 63-year-old said while he was arrested at the time, his name was only ever linked to Kingsmill in recent years.
Jailed for 14 years in 2002 for conspiracy to cause an explosion after it was alleged he lent mobile phones to the gang who planted the Omagh bomb, Murphy won an appeal against his conviction three years later.
He was also found liable with others for the Real IRA atrocity in a landmark civil case brought by victims' relatives.
Asked by the Irish News about Kingsmill, he said: "It's common knowledge that I was questioned at the time but I wouldn't read anything into that as so were about 20 or 30 other people.
"I've heard a lot of names being thrown into the mix over the years but my name has only recently been mentioned and I'm pretty sure that's a result of people trying to deflect blame in a different direction.
"I've never been approached by the HET or anyone else in relation to Kingsmill and sure that should tell you all you need to know."