Bloomberg News

Northern Ireland Starts Trial of Pair Accused of Police Killing

January 09, 2012

Jan. 9 (Bloomberg) -- The trial of two men accused of the murder of a policeman in Northern Ireland three years ago opened in Belfast today, with the prosecution alleging a tracking device and forensics link the pair to the killing.

Brendan McConville, 40, and John Paul Wootton, 20, are charged with killing policeman Stephen Carroll in Craigavon, county Armagh, on March 9, 2009, after police were lured to an estate in the town. Carroll was shot in the head as he sat in his patrol car. Both men deny the charges.

The prosecution said a tracking device showed a car owned by Wootton was in the area of the shooting when it took place and left shortly afterward. Later investigations found the car contained a coat that showed evidence of firearms residue. A DNA profile on McConville was discovered on the coat.

Carroll was the first policeman to be killed in Northern Ireland since the Police Service of Northern Ireland was formed in 2001. Dissident republicans, who oppose Northern Ireland’s peace process and its U.K. link, said they killed him, part of a terrorist campaign to reignite a conflict that claimed more than 3,500 lives before largely ending with a 1998 peace deal.

Judge Paul Girvan, who is trying the case without a jury, today denied a defense application to have evidence relating to the tracking device ruled inadmissible. Wootton’s mother, Sharon Wootton, is also charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. She denies the charge.

--Editors: Andrew Atkinson, Fergal O’Brien

To contact the reporter on this story: Colm Heatley in Belfast at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at

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