Belfast Telegraph

'Disgust' at police killer sentence

The widow of murdered police officer Constable Stephen Carroll has spoken of her "disgust" at the jail term handed to one of the killer gang.

John Paul Wootton, 21, drove the getaway car and was sentenced to 14 years minimum by Lord Justice Paul Girvan, nine fewer than the man whose coat may have been wrapped around the murder weapon, Brendan McConville, 41.

The policeman, 48, was shot dead by the Continuity IRA in Craigavon, County Armagh, in March 2009.

Outside Belfast Crown Court, Cons Carroll's widow Kate said of Wootton's sentence: "I am actually disgusted, the full intent was there, he has shown no remorse."

She added: "It gives the message out that it is fine to kill a policeman here because you get a small rap on the knuckles whereas in England you get the full term. Justice has been done? Not for us it has not. Stephen is still in his grave."

In England a possible minimum sentence of 30 years can be handed to those who kill policemen.

Mrs Carroll added no exceptions should be made in Northern Ireland, branding the sentence disgusting.

The judge said there must be some allowance for the fact that Wootton, aged 17 at the time, played a more limited role than McConville.

He said: "The killing comes at a time when terrorist activity has thankfully substantially decreased and it has been wholly rejected, as demonstrated by the will of the people.

"Any terrorist who continues to activate that terrorism at this point in time must be deterred from continuing in that course and any sentence must reflect that need for deterrence."

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