Belfast Telegraph

Constable Stephen Carroll murder: High Court dismisses dissidents' appeal bid

By Chris Kilpatrick

Two dissident republicans have lost an appeal against their convictions for murdering a police officer.

Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton will serve their respective jail terms for the killing of Constable Stephen Carroll – the first member of the PSNI to be murdered.

Constable Carroll was shot by the Continuity IRA in an ambush in Craigavon, Co Armagh, in March 2009. The 48-year-old from Banbridge, Co Down was targeted as he sat in an unmarked police car while officers responded to a 999 call.

In 2012 McConville (43), from Craigavon, and 23-year-old John Paul Wootton from Lurgan, were found guilty at Belfast Crown Court of Constable Carroll's murder.

They were also convicted of possession of an AK47 assault rifle and a quantity of cartridges with intent to endanger life.

McConville was sentenced to at least 25 years. Wootton was handed a minimum 14-year term. Both men lodged appeals against their convictions. The reserved judgment of Northern Ireland's Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, Lord Justice Coghlin and Lord Justice Higgins was delivered yesterday.

"The surrounding circumstances in our view formed a compelling case that each of these appellants was guilty of the offences with which they were charged," said the Lord Chief Justice.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Ricky Harkness stressed detectives believed more than two people were involved in the murder and asked anyone with information to come forward.

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