Judgment due in police murder case

Witney Gazette: Stephen Carroll was killed by the Continuity IRA Stephen Carroll was killed by the Continuity IRA

Two dissident republicans found guilty of murdering a policeman in Northern Ireland will today hear judgment in the appeal against their convictions.

Constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead by the Continuity IRA in Craigavon, County Armagh, in March 2009.

Three years later Brendan McConville, 43, and John Paul Wootton, 23, were found guilty at Belfast Crown Court of murdering the 48-year-old officer from Banbridge, Co Down.

McConville, originally from Craigavon, is serving at least a 25 year sentence for the murder.

Wootton, from Lurgan, was handed a minimum 14-year term.

The appeal was heard in Belfast High Court last year by Northern Ireland's Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, Lord Justice Coghlin and Lord Justice Higgins. Judgment was reserved.

Con Carroll was shot dead in a dissident ambush two days after two British soldiers were murdered in a Real IRA gun attack outside their barracks in Antrim town.

He died of a single gunshot wound to the head sustained as he sat in an unmarked police car while colleagues attended a 999 call in the Lismore Manor area.

A brick had been thrown through the window of a house in the private development an hour earlier, prompting the occupants to call the police.

Con Carroll was the first policeman killed by republican paramilitaries since the peace process reforms which saw the Royal Ulster Constabulary replaced by the new-look PSNI in 2001.

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