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Moment besotted English penpal wed police killer in Northern Ireland jail and tore her family apart

We will never accept police killer into our family, say relatives of woman who wed dissident - Teenage son of McConville's bride is 'devastated' at mother's matrimony

By Patricia Devlin

Published 22/11/2016

Brendan McConville and Siobhan Monaghan marry in prison
Brendan McConville and Siobhan Monaghan marry in prison
Brendan McConville and Siobhan Monaghan
Kate and Stephen Carroll
Brendan McConville and Siobhan Monaghan after their wedding in prison yesterday
Brendan McConville and Siobhan Monaghan
Brendan McConville and Siobhan Monaghan tie the knot in prison

The family of an English woman who wed killer Brendan McConville behind bars say they'll never accept the dissident republican as her husband.

The Belfast Telegraph can reveal that some of Siobhan Monaghan's family, who live in the Oxford town of Wantage, didn't even know she was marrying the Craigavon gunman until she left for Northern Ireland last week.

They have now hit out at the romance, and say they fear the relationship could tear the close-knit family apart.

"No-one can believe Siobhan has done this. Some of her children didn't even know she was going out with McConville," a source close to the family said last night.

"She only told some of them about the wedding before she left for Ireland last week with a wedding dress.

"It's caused mayhem.

"As far as we are concerned he is a murderer and will never be part of the family.

"Siobhan was made aware of just how strongly people around here felt before she left for Northern Ireland last week, and before she walked down that aisle.

"All she could say though was that she loved him and she was marrying him.

"Her teenage son is devastated, he doesn't know what to do.

Stephen Carroll with his wife Kate
Stephen Carroll with his wife Kate
Brendan McConville
Kate Carroll whose husband, police officer Stephen Carroll, was murdered
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/03/2016 Kate Carroll (widow of Stephen Carroll) During The funeral cortege for murdered prison officer Adrian Ismay arrives at Woodvale Methodist Church this morning. Mr Ismay died 11 days after being seriously injured in an under car bomb planted by a group calling itself the ÔNew IRAÕ on the 4th of March this year. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press
Murdered police constable Stephen Carroll
Constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead in March 2009
Mandatory Credit - Picture by Freddie Parkinson/Press Eye © Tuesday 22nd March 2016 Adrian Ismay: Funeral for prison officer targeted in van bomb The funeral for prison officer Adrian Ismay who died following a dissident republican bomb attack. Among the mourners was Justice Minister David Ford, George Hamilton Chief Constable of the PSNI, Kate Carroll widow of the late Stephen Carroll, Theresa Villiers Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and First Minister Arlene Foster.

"He loves his mum but he can't accept McConville.

"He just keeps saying, 'My mum's married a murderer'.

"Seeing the pictures of her wrapped around McConville yesterday broke his heart.

"He's very angry.

"She's due to fly back home tomorrow and there will be family crisis talks.

"This relationship is ripping the family apart."

The Belfast Telegraph revealed yesterday how McConville was set to marry Siobhan at a ceremony inside Maghaberry prison yesterday.

The pair struck up a relationship after the 49-year-old began writing to him behind bars from her Oxford home.

The religious nuptials, performed by a priest, took place in the prison's multi-faith room yesterday morning, and were followed by tea and buns.

Around 10 guests, including a number of McConville's fellow dissident inmates, attended the vows but left the celebrations early to allow the happy couple some time alone.

Minutes after leaving the jailhouse do, Siobhan couldn't wait to share her happy news on social media.

Changing her surname on Facebook to McConville, she announced the marriage alongside a picture of the newly-married couple.

Scores offered their congratulations - first among them was Brian Shivers.

He was acquitted after retrial three years ago of the murder of two soldiers and six attempted murders at Massereene barracks in 2009.

Commenting on the picture of McConville and his bride, he said: "A very happy man all the very best Brian."

The happy couple are expected to continue their long distance romance through phone calls and letters as McConville serves the remainder of a 25-year sentence for killing PSNI officer Stephen Carroll.

The 48-year-old from Banbridge, Co Down was shot in the head as he responded to a 999 call out in the Lismore estate in Craigavon in March 2009. McConville, who was lying in wait armed with an AK47 assault rifle, pulled the trigger.

The devoted dad and granddad was the first PSNI officer to be killed by dissidents since the formation of the new force.

McConville, along with 25 year-old accomplice JP Wootton from Lurgan, Co Armagh were convicted of his murder in 2012.

They were sentenced to a minimum of 25 and 14 years in prison.

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