Appeal date is set for appeal on police murder

John Paul Wooton.
John Paul Wooton.

A DATE has been set for an appeal of the convictions of two men sentenced to life last year for the killing of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll.

The Appeals of John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville has been set for April 29 at the Royal Courts of Justice in Belfast.

In May McConville (40) was jailed for a minimum of 25 years after being convicted of taking part in a Continuity IRA attack in which Mr Carroll was shot dead.

His co-accused Wootton (20) was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years in jail.

Both men maintain their innocence and claim they are the victims of a miscarriage of justice.

Mr Carroll was shot in the head as he and colleagues were attending an emergency call in Lismore Manor, Craigavon on March 2009.

Willie McConville, Brendan’s father, last year said he is convinced of his son’s innocence. “Anyone who knows him will know he is not the type of person to do that, “ he said.

“He has his political outlook which he is entitled to and was a Sinn Fein councillor.

“If he did have anything to do with it we would not stand by him, we would say he deserves what he gets.

“We believe nobody has the right to take life and we stand by that.”

McConville and Wootton have raised questions about the reliability of the evidence given by a witness known as M during the trial.

They have also raised questions about the DNA and forensic evidence used to secure the convictions.

The pair have also received high profile support when Gerry Conlon who was wrongfully convicted of the IRA Guilford pub bombing in 1974, revealed that he was backing a campaign for their release.

However Constable Carroll’s widow Kate has spoken of her “total cynicism” about the appeal.

Kate Carroll said: “As far as I am concerned they were found guilty in a proper court of law and I am moving on with my life.”