Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

PSNI officer Stephen Carroll 'lured to his death'

Murdered PSNI officer Stephen Carroll

A policeman shot by dissident republicans was lured to his death, the trial of two men accused of his murder heard.

Constable Stephen Carroll died of a single gunshot wound to the head as he sat in a police car while colleagues attended a 999 call in Craigavon, Co Armagh.

A brick was thrown through the window of a house in Lismore Manor, prompting the occupants to ring the police.

Former Sinn Fein councillor Brendan McConville, 40, and John Paul Wootton, 20, both from Co Armagh, deny murdering the 48-year-old Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) constable in March 2009 and other related charges.

Wootton's mother, Sharon Wootton, 39, is also standing trial, accused of perverting the course of justice in relation to the subsequent police investigation of the shooting. She denies the charge.

On the opening day of the high profile case at Belfast Crown Court, a prosecuting barrister told judge Lord Justice Paul Girvan that the plan was to murder any police officer that responded to the brick throwing incident.

The shots were fired from a grassy bank around 50 metres away from the silver Skoda police car Constable Carroll was sitting in, he added.

"The attack was designed to kill any police officer that attended the scene that night," said the barrister.

"Constable Carroll and fellow officers were lured into the area in order that a gun attack could be perpetrated on him and other officers."

The QC described how fellow officers approached Mr Carroll's car moments after two shots rang out and found his colleague in a state of panic.

"The passenger appeared delirious and was pointing his weapon in a number of directions," he told the court.

"The passenger said 'my driver's dead'."

The trial was due to open in Belfast Crown Court in December but was postponed after Ms Wootton applied to change her solicitors.

The murder, which was claimed by the Continuity IRA, was committed two days after two British soldiers were shot dead by the Real IRA outside an Army barracks in Antrim.

McConville, from Aldervale, Tullygally, and Wootton and his mother, both from Collingdale, Craigavon, sat impassively in the dock as the trial opened.

Constable Carroll's widow Kate sat yards away in the public gallery.

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