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Editor's Viewpoint

Terror played role in tragic Shane's death

Editor's Viewpoint


Kate Carroll

In the parlance of Northern Ireland, Kate Carroll has not had her sorrows to seek. Her husband, Stephen, was shot dead by the Continuity IRA 11 years ago, the first PSNI officer to become a victim of terrorism.

Now her son, Shane, a father of 10, has died suddenly at the age of just 48, the same age Stephen was when he was murdered.

Kate, now 69, has been a tireless opponent of violence in Northern Ireland, and one of the phrases in her interview with this newspaper today sums up her frustration that her vision of an united community at peace with itself is not shared by everyone.

Who could fail to share in the frustration vented in the heartfelt sentence, "The two most precious things in my life have been taken away and all because of this damned country"?

Kate is convinced that Shane, who suffered from depression, never got over the murder of Stephen, who was his stepfather.

He was a frequent visitor to the police constable's grave and Kate spoke fondly and proudly of how much he had admired his stepfather.

Shane's death brings to mind the death earlier this year of the mother of murdered journalist Lyra McKee. Joan Lawrie's family said she died of a broken heart, having never recovered from the death of her youngest child.

The bullet which killed Lyra kept travelling in time until it took her mum's life; the bullet that killed Stephen Carroll travelled much longer in time but with equal deadly effect, ending the life of Shane.

Kate's son's name will never feature in any list of the victims of terrorism, but like so many before him, terrorism played a role in his death.

As if Kate had not suffered enough, the brother of her partner of four years, Derek Egerton, died a few days ago.

The sorrows keep piling up. Little wonder Kate told us she is in bits.

At a time when she was hoping to find some peace and happiness, her life has again been thrown into turmoil.

She has 10 grandchildren, aged from two to early 20s, and our thoughts must also be with Shane's wife, Elaine, who found his lifeless body.

What a terrible tragedy for those two families to bear.

It is also a reminder of how violence can ripple down the generations, creating more mayhem in its wake.

The death toll from terrorism may be around 3,800, but countless more who will only be known to their families can be added. Shane is the latest.

Belfast Telegraph