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Police widow ‘deeply touched’ by Sir Alex Ferguson’s letter of sympathy

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has sent a letter to Kate Carroll, whose police officer husband was murdered by terrorists.

PC Stephen Carroll was shot dead by the Continuity IRA as he answered a distress call in Craigavon on March 9 last year.

His widow Kate — a long-time supporter of the Premier League champions, like her “Steve” — said she was “deeply touched” by this most personal of gestures.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph from her home in Banbridge, the 59-year-old former dental nurse praised Sir Alex’s sensitivity.

“Steve adored Manchester United and it’s something that rubbed off on the rest of the family,” Mrs Carroll said.

“I couldn’t quite believe it when I opened up the letter and discovered if was from Alex Ferguson, but it means so much to me.

“Time hasn’t healed the hurt I’m feeling over Steve’s death, but little things like this make my life just that little bit more bearable.”

The grandmother-of-four added: “It’s a comfort to know that Steve will not be forgotten. Things like this help his memory to stay alive and I can continue to believe he did not die in vain.”

Mrs Carroll, who lost her first husband and the father of her only son Shane to cancer in December, will travel to America to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

The trip came about after she met and became friends with two American policemen who visited Northern Ireland at the end of last year.

But as it gets closer to the one year anniversary of her beloved soulmate’s death, she said Mr Ferguson’s letter has been a source of comfort.

“I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of Stephen and on behalf of everyone here at Manchester United, I would like to express our sincere condolences to you and your family,” read the letter. “We know that the days and months ahead will be most difficult, but trust that you will find comfort in God and with each other at this very sad time.

“The pain of losing someone dear to you is hard, but the one thing that cannot be taken away from you is the wonderful memories that you will have of your time together. I know words seem of little help, but trust that these words of comfort and the knowledge that you are in our thoughts and prayers will help sustain you in your sorrow.”

Stephen Carroll was the first member of the PSNI to be murdered by terrorists since it was formed in 2001.

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