Belfast Telegraph

Wife of murdered PSNI officer Stephen Carroll 'disappointed in Derry' after husband's name appears on bonfire

The wife of the first PSNI officer to be murdered by dissident republicans has said that she is "disappointed" in Londonderry after her husband's name appeared on a bonfire in the city.

Constable Stephen Carroll (48), from Banbridge, Co Down, was shot dead after police were lured to a callout in Lismore Manor in Craigavon on March 9, 2009.

The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility for the murder.

Former Sinn Fein councillor Brendan McConville from Craigavon and 25-year-old John Paul Wootton from Lurgan were convicted in 2012 for their part in the murder of Constable Carroll.

Mr Carroll's name appeared on the bonfire in the City's Bogside area, alongside fellow police officer Ronan Kerr and prison officers David Black and Adrian Ismay.

The bonfire also featured Union flags, British Army flags, poppy wreaths which had been stolen from the city's cenotaph, and a Donald Trump election sign.

Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime and a 35-year-old man has been arrested after petrol bombs were thrown at police.

Mr Carroll's widow Kate said that she was surprised the incident had taken place in Derry.

"I just arrived home from a break and the news people rang me to say this had happened," she told BBC Radio 2's Jeremy Vine show.

"Nobody can hurt Steve anymore which is the priority and I'm absolutely shocked and disappointed in Derry-Londonderry, a city which hosted the City of Culture so eloquently, could allow their people to take such a backwards step into the past.

"Steve was a very athletic man, he was the type of person who would have walked a mile to help you. He wasn't bigoted, he wasn't bitter and he just loved life.

"(His death) was just a mindless act, it speaks volumes about the bigotry and the hatred that is still harboured in the minds of both our cultures in this country.

"It's just unfortunate that Steve had to be one of those people."

Mrs Carroll said the incident was not reflective of the situation in Northern Ireland and was the actions of small minority intent of dredging up the past.

"I try not to let it upset me anymore because it's a lost emotion and there are always going to be people in this country who still believe in 'the cause' and the divide and conquer mindset," she said.

"I try not to get stuck in a futile path but I think that most people in this country would prefer to live and let live and move on from the past.

"I think it's just entrenched in these young minds and young people on the streets who were never involved in the past thirty years, it can be tit for tat with something on the news, there was flags burned on the Twelfth and now this is going to be a new act to start breaking people up again and keep the hatred going."

Following the bonfire, Northern Ireland Prison Service director-general Ronnie Armour said he had received messages of support from Derry after the death of his colleagues was mocked.

One message read: "Please accept my sincere apologies for the most disgraceful, hurtful and hate-filled scenes that we witnessed last night at the bonfire in the Bogside.

"I know that I speak for the vast, vast majority of people from this wonderful City when I say that this is not in our name and we stand with the families of Ronan, Stephen, Adrian and David at this most distressing time.

"Please pass on my thoughts to the families of Adrian, David and all your fellow officers."

Mr Armour said Mr Black and Mr Ismay served the entire community with commitment, integrity and dignity.

"As a service we will continue to serve all the people of Northern Ireland with professionalism," he said.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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