Belfast Telegraph

Jacket 'worn by shooting accused'

Two jackets allegedly owned by one of the men accused of murdering a policeman were found covered in gunshot residue, his trial has been told.

An Army tracking device secretly attached to the car belonging to the other man charged with shooting dead Constable Stephen Carroll placed the vehicle close to the scene of the murder in Craigavon, Co Armagh, a prosecuting lawyer claimed.

Former Sinn Fein councillor Brendan McConville, 40, and John Paul Wootton, 20, both from Co Armagh, deny killing the 48-year-old Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer 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 dissident republican shooting. She denies the charge.

Con Carroll died of a single gunshot wound to the head sustained as he sat in a police car while colleagues attended a 999 call in the Lismore Manor area of the town.

The Crown claim he was lured to his death. A brick had been thrown through the window of a house in the private development an hour earlier, prompting the occupants to call the police.

Presenting the Crown case against the accused on the opening day of the high-profile trial at Belfast Crown Court, the prosecuting barrister told judge Lord Justice Paul Girvan that DNA on found on a brown jacket recovered from the boot of Wootton's Citroen Saxo car indicated it was "habitually worn" by McConville.

The QC said ballistics tests on the jacket detected high levels of gunshot residue both inside and outside the garment.

Two shots were fired from a grassy bank around 50 metres away from the police car Constable Carroll was sitting in. The AK47 assault rifle used in the attack was found in the wake of the murder hidden under an oil tanker at the back of a house in the Pinebank area of Craigavon.

The Crown lawyer explained that bin bags wrapped round the weapon were the same make as bags dumped close to where Wootton's car was parked at the time of the shooting. He said that type of bag turned out to be very rare and no similar brands were found among the 82 available in local shops and supermarkets.

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