THE quest to bring to justice those involved in the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll will continue, the wife of the murdered policeman has said.
Kate Widow made the emotional statement after two men were convicted of the murder of her husband at Belfast Crown Court last Friday.
Brendan McConville (40) and John Paul Wootton (20) were found guilty of killing the 48-year-old PSNI officer in Lismore Manor, Craigavon in March 2009.
Kate Carroll, who attended the nine-week trial, insisted that dissident republican terrorists who continued to wreak misery on families in Northern Ireland were fighting a losing battle.
“I just felt justice has been done,” Mrs Carroll said after the verdicts were handed down by Lord Justice Paul Girvan. “I felt pity and disgust for them because my idea is we are trying to move on in Northern Ireland, we are trying to keep the peace process going and no one wants it [violence].”
The officer, from Banbridge, was the first policeman killed by republican terrorists since the peace process reforms that saw the RUC replaced by the PSNI.
Mrs Carroll, who embraced her son Shane after the judgments, said the hunt for justice would go on, because not all the members of the murder gang involved had been brought before the courts.
“I am happy that we have got this far but we have a long, long way to go yet, not everyone connected with Steve’s murder has been found guilty,” she said.
The officer’s widow had a stark message for those still involved in violence in Northern Ireland. Last year another policeman – 25-year-old Ronan Kerr – was murdered by dissidents in Omagh.
“Look at what they are doing,” said Mrs Carroll. “They haven’t achieved anything from Steve’s killing, from Ronan Kerr’s killing, they’ve achieved absolutely nothing – they are fighting a losing battle and why do they do it? No one wants it any more.”
Mrs Carroll said her life would never be the same again and the killers had left a void in her family that could not be filled.
“My son Shane and I spent 27 amazing years with Steve,” she explained. “His parents have buried their son too many years before his time, Stephen’s brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews have all suffered as a result of his murder.”
McConville, of Aldervale, Tullygally in Craigavon, and Wootton, of Collingdale, Lurgan, showed no emotion as the judge passed sentence at the end of a judgment that took more than two hours to deliver.
After the hearing, PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott paid warm tribute to Mr Carroll.
“I just wanted to say a few things about our colleague Stevie Carroll who was utterly committed, a servant of all, highly respected and just a great police officer,” he said before embracing his widow.
“His murder has achieved absolutely nothing.
“I also wanted to pay tribute to Kate and the family for their quite amazing quiet dignity throughout this whole investigation and trial and the way in which they have been bringing hope from tragedy in their words and actions and their commitment to peace.”