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Bomb murder Pc 'a modern-day hero'

Tributes have been paid to a young Catholic police officer murdered by a booby-trap car bomb in Northern Ireland.

Ronan Kerr was killed in the blast outside his home on the outskirts of Omagh, Co Tyrone. The 25-year-old had only recently graduated from training college.

At a press conference at Omagh police station, chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland Matt Baggott described him as a "modern-day hero".

The chief constable said: "We have lost one of our brave and courageous police recruits, someone who joined this fine service simply to do good, joined to serve the community impartially and to be someone I describe as a modern day hero."

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process are believed to have carried out the killing.

The explosion happened as the officer got into his car in the residential Highfield Close development, off the main Gortin Road, just before 4pm. The blast sent shivers through Omagh where 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, were killed in the 1998 Real IRA car bomb attack.

It is understood the victim, a former pupil of the Christian Brothers Grammar School in Omagh, was leaving to start a shift at Enniskillen police station. About 2,000 people taking part in the Omagh Half Marathon had earlier passed the nearby entrance to the estate.

His murder was roundly condemned by the British and Irish governments, Stormont, church leaders and cross-party representatives. Prime Minister David Cameron said the young officer had dedicated himself to serving the entire community of Northern Ireland. "Those who carried out this wicked and cowardly crime will never succeed in dragging Northern Ireland back to a dark and bloody past," he warned.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the bomb attack as a heinous and pointless act of terror. "Those who carried it out want to drag us back to the misery and pain of the past," he said. "They are acting in defiance of the Irish people."

First Minister Peter Robinson said the murder was shocking and deplorable. "This attack is intended to deter young Catholics from joining the police and I urge them not to be deterred by those who have nothing to offer our society," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph