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Suspect will not be prosecuted over 1976 Kingsmill massacre in Northern Ireland

There is "insufficient evidence" to offer a reasonable prospect of convicting the individual arrested on suspicion of murdering 10 Protestant workmen in 1976, Northern Ireland's Public Prosecution Service (PPS) said.

The IRA was widely blamed for the massacre, one of the most notorious killings of the Troubles, in which the factory workers were ambushed as they travelled home from work in a minibus in rural south Armagh.

Michael Agnew, the PPS's assistant director of central casework, said lawyers had "carefully" considered all of the evidence and applied the test for prosecution.

A lack of Garda and Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) records in relation to how the van was forensically handled upon discovery was a key factor in the decision, it is understood.

Prosecutors were apparently unable to find documents indicating exactly when the vehicle was found, where it was taken for examination and the precise location of the palm print position on the windscreen.

This meant that while prosecutors did not see matching the print to the individual to be an issue, the missing forensic records meant they were unable to rule out the possibility his palm might have been placed on the windscreen well after the shooting.

While the PPS did have two witnesses identifying the green Bedford van replica Van Cleef & Arpels diamond ring as being in the general area before and after the attack, the sightings were not Van Cleef & Arpels rose gold ring fake close enough to provide circumstantial evidence.

The long delayed inquest into the murders was put on hold again last year, after it was announced detectives had apparently matched the print to an individual.

Three months later a 59 year old man was arrested in Newry, Co Down.

The man, who had previous terror convictions, was released pending a police file being sent to replica Van Cleef & Arpels necklace prosecutors.

At a subsequent inquest hearing, a lawyer for the Police Service of Northern Ireland said detectives believed the print belonged to the arrested man.

Mr Agnew said: "We are mindful of the disappointment that this decision will bring to the surviving victim and families of those who were killed.

"Although 41 years have passed since this atrocity, we are conscious that their pain endures.

"We have informed the families this morning of our decision and the reasons for it, and have offered to meet with them to answer any further questions that they may have."

Reacting to the announcement, Mr Black said he had mixed feelings, noting it meant the inquest can now resume.

He said: "I am disappointed obviously that no one has been held to account.

"Having said that, I got a very detailed document from the PPS this morning and I can see why they didn't take it forward, because they can't place the minibus at Kingsmill, so then the palm print becomes surplus."

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