Belfast Telegraph

Nine years on, the first PSNI officer to be murdered is remembered with pride by widow and former colleagues

By Allan Preston

The widow and former colleagues of murdered PSNI officer Stephen Carroll paid tribute to him yesterday on the ninth anniversary of his death.

Kate Carroll said the family placed flowers at the graveside of the constable, who was shot dead by dissident republicans in 2009.

She said: "We celebrate his life rather than focus on his death.

"His brothers and sisters always get in touch over the phone and chat about him.

"We've always kept in contact because they're like an extended family to me."

Kate said that she was also comforted by support from his former colleagues.

She said: "Steve's sergeant was with me today and they've left a tribute on his grave. We always catch up.

"It's lovely that they can still talk fondly about Steve.

"One officer told me he was a joy to work with and that he always had their back and they miss him greatly to this day."

Constable Carroll was killed when a gunman opened fire as he answered an emergency call in Craigavon.

Local officers - including the colleague who was with him the night of the attack - shared tributes on social media.

The colleague said: "The officers attending knew of an increased threat of an attack in this specific area. More so given the cowardly murder of two young off-duty, unarmed soldiers less than 48 hours earlier.

"They attended this call for help regardless.

"The first car went to the house.

"As the second car made to turn in the small cul-de-sac, a burst of automatic gunfire struck the vehicle, fatally wounding my driver, Stephen Carroll. The vermin who carried out this act quickly skulked off into the darkness, their evil deed done." The officer added: "A family robbed of a husband, a son, a brother, a father, a grandfather. A unit robbed of a friend and colleague. Our community robbed of an honest, decent and diligent peeler. Nine years gone, always remembered."

Another former colleague said: "Every year we remember him, his sacrifice, and renew our determination to work as hard as we can to honour his memory in the best way possible - by keeping our community safe."

They added: "Today we remember Kate and the family and remind the whole Carroll family that they are never alone.

"Our station is their station, and the door to them will always be open."

After yesterday's anniversary Mrs Carroll said local people still had fond memories of her husband.

She added: "He's still in their thoughts because he was such a bubbly man.

"He loved athletics, a real sportsman, and a very kind, loving and generous guy.

"That's the way people see him - he's left a big void in all of our lives."

Regarding pressures on the PSNI with budget cutbacks and reduced staffing levels, she urged politicians at Stormont to find agreement.

"It's not only police officers that are under pressure, it's the public as well," she said.

"All I can say is that I wish the politicians would come together because life is too short for orange and green division. Come together and make life easier for the rest of us."

Constable Carroll was the first PSNI officer to be killed in the line of duty.

Dissident republicans Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton were convicted of the killing in 2012, receiving 25 and 14-year sentences respectively.

Belfast Telegraph

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