Two guilty of Constable Carroll’s murder

 Two men have been found guilty of murdering Constable Stephen Carroll, at the culmination of a nine-week trial.

Two guilty of Constable Carroll's murder
Brendan mcConville and John Paul Wootton have been found guilty of murder. (© Pacemaker)

Lord Justice Paul Girvan delivered his verdicts against former Sinn Féin councillor Brendan McConville, 40 and from Tullygally in Craigavon, and 20-year-old John Paul Wootton, from Collingdale in Lurgan, after three weeks of deliberations on the evidence.

“They have chosen to say nothing in relation to the case, which cries out for explanation,” the Diplock judge told Belfast Crown Court on Friday.

Throughout proceedings, the pair had denied involvement in the fatal gun attack in Craigavon on 9 March 2009 – but refused to give evidence on their own behalf.

If there were an innocent explanation, they would have been easily capable of providing it to the court – but chose not to do so.

Lord Justice Paul Girvan

Constable Carroll was shot dead as he attended a 999 call – police were lured into the Lismore Manor area, after a brick was thrown through a window to ensure the occupants would call for help.

A single gunshot to the head from an AK-47 assault rifle killed Constable Carroll as he sat in the driver’s seat of his unmarked patrol car – the Continuity IRAlater admitted responsibility for his murder.

AK-47 with milled receiver and wood furniture.

The 48-year-old long-serving officer was the first PSNI member to be killed by dissident republicans since the force replaced the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

His death came just 48 hours after the fatal shooting at Massereene barracks.

Wootton was also found guilty of attempting to obtain information likely to be of use to terrorists.

In the lead up to the shooting, he had approached an individual – known as Witness E – to ask for the address of another policeman.

During the trial, Wootton’s mother – 39-year-old Sharon Wootton, with the same address as her son – pleaded guilty to obstructing the police investigation into the murder.

She admitted to removing computer equipment from their house ahead of police searches.

Constable Carroll’s widow Kate, who has watched the trial unfold from the public gallery, was there on Friday to hear the final verdicts delivered.

She embraced her son Shane and, outside the court, hugged her husband’s colleagues who had helped to investigate his murder.

McConville and Wooton, who were handed automatic life sentences, will find out at a later date the minimum time they’ll have to spend behind bars.



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