Belfast Telegraph

PSNI widow's fury at song that demands 'justice' for men found guilty of murdering her husband

By Deborah McAleese

PSNI widow Kate Carroll has hit out at those behind a protest song in support of her husband's killers, accusing them of not letting him rest in peace.

Mrs Carroll said she was upset that the campaigners could make money out of her husband's murder by pushing for the song, Justice for the Craigavon Two, to make it into the Top 40 charts next week.

Her husband Stephen was shot dead by dissident republican terrorists in 2009 as he responded to a fake 999 call at a housing estate in Craigavon.

Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton are serving life sentences for the 48-year-old's murder after they were found guilty at Belfast Crown Court in March 2012.

A group set up to campaign for McConville and Wootton are hoping their song, sung by Pol MacAdaim, will make it into the Top 40 on Sunday. Yesterday it entered the UK iTunes chart following the launch of a social media campaign by the protest group.

Respect Party MP George Galloway publicly supported the campaigners by sharing an appeal to download the song with his half-a-million Twitter followers.

Mrs Carroll said the campaigners seemed intent on "reawakening the painful past".

"Every few months there always seems to be a glitch that knocks me down, just like this, but I always get up again. It is like a reawakening of the painful past. But I'm not going to allow this latest event to knock me down. The thing that I am really annoyed about is that they could make money out of Stevie's death," she said.

Mrs Carroll added: "To be honest, it is like they are not letting my husband rest in peace. The only thing I ever worried about was Stevie, but he is not here now.

"The biggest upset in the world has already happened to me. What else can they do to hurt me as much as that?"

Singer/songwriter Pol MacAdaim, originally from Ardoyne in north Belfast, has said he did not write the song to upset anyone.

However, the UUP's Jo-Anne Dobson said the campaigners have compounded Mrs Carroll's hurt and pain.

"Throughout this horrific ordeal and deeply upsetting and distressing time in her life, Kate Carroll has conducted herself with nothing but dignity and resolve," the Upper Bann MLA said.

"I, like so many, am angered at the decision to proceed with this 'single', never mind the fact that they did so only days after the sixth anniversary of Constable Carroll's murder."

She added: "It is also hurtful and grossly insensitive for the campaign to describe the single as 'the song they want to ban' - to capitalise on concerns raised about the hurt it would cause to Kate and others beggars belief."

The single was launched on Sunday at Conway Mill in west Belfast.

Mayor of Craigavon, UUP councillor Colin McCusker, has urged the Apple Corporation (for iTunes) and the BBC to ban it. Omagh District Council has written to Apple to voice concern.

However, Independent Lisburn councillor Angela Nelson, who chairs the campaign, has said the single "is aimed at raising awareness of the miscarriage of justice."

"It is our democratic right to challenge the justice system on what we and respected legal human rights campaigners believe to be a miscarriage of justice," she added.

Constable Carroll, from Banbridge, Co Down, was the first policeman killed by republican terrorists after the peace process reforms which saw the Royal Ulster Constabulary replaced by the new-look PSNI.

He was shot dead two days after two British soldiers were murdered in a Real IRA gun attack outside their barracks in Antrim town.

Background

The single Justice for the Craigavon Two was launched on Sunday by supporters of the two men who murdered PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll as he answered an emergency call in Co Armagh in March 2009. Constable Carroll was the first police officer to be murdered by terrorists since the formation of the PSNI. His killers' supporters hope their single will make it into the Top 40 charts on Sunday. The song's release has caused distress to Constable Carroll's widow Kate.

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