Belfast Telegraph

Ronan Kerr's killers 'must be caught', says brother

By David Young

Ronan Kerr's killers must be caught to prevent another life being taken, his brother said.

Cathair Kerr said the policeman was more than his younger brother, he was also his best friend.

A year on from the murder, the 27-year-old said it was important those responsible were brought to justice.

"It could save another life," he said.

"If they can take Ronan's life, they can take someone else's. That's the main thing. It's not going to bring Ronan back but it could save someone else."

Mr Kerr was on his way back to Northern Ireland from his adopted home in Sydney, Australia, when he found out the tragic news by chance, logging on to the internet on his phone to check the football scores.

"I was sitting in Sydney airport on the way home and I had just checked-in on Facebook to the airport, the first person to comment on it was Ronan and I was straight on instant messenger to him.

"Man United was playing that day so I wanted to check when I got to Abu Dhabi the football result and I logged onto Facebook again and everything was about Ronan, in the past tense.

"I didn't know how or why, I just knew he was dead.

"It was tough, just a big shock. I just passed it to my girlfriend who was sitting beside me and didn't say anything.

"I tried to get through to mum and just asked 'was it true?', and it was."

He added: "I had eight hours (on plane) from Abu Dhabi just thinking about it. I was just thinking about Ronan the whole way and what was going to happen when I got home.

"I thought I was going on a holiday, even went to the airport two hours early I was that excited to get home, and your life just changes completely.

"I was glad I was halfway home already."

In the difficult days that followed, Mr Kerr said he got through by remembering his brother's personality.

"I just thought about him, because every time you think of him you sort of laugh to yourself because he was that much fun to be around and that's how I get through every day, by just thinking of the good times," he said.

He added: "He was my younger brother but because we were so close in age (18 months) he was my best friend as well, we had the same circle of friends, so to lose him was losing a best friend and a brother."

Con Kerr's brother said the thousands of messages of support were, and remain, a great source of comfort to the family.

"We got cards from everywhere - France, Australia, America, even famous people like Liam Neeson took time out of their busy lives to write letters," he said.

"It was good to know everyone was on your side."

Mr Kerr said his brother always wanted to join the police and thinks he even had ambitions of one day serving in the New York Police Department.

Ronan Kerr was targeted by dissident republicans because he was a young nationalist joining the police in Northern Ireland. In their twisted logic, he was a collaborator enforcing British rule and they wanted to scare other Catholics from signing up.

But his brother insisted they had the reverse effect.

"Lots of people said to me it's made them more determined to join the police," he revealed. "It just shows killing people is not going to make any difference."

He added: "It's okay to have different political views but murder is always wrong, it's never right."

Con Kerr turned 25 just weeks before he died. A card his brother sent home from Australia now holds poignant significance.

"On the birthday card at the end of it I said: 'See you soon', because I thought I was seeing him in a month," said Mr Kerr.

"Little did I know that I wouldn't."

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