Widow’s sympathy for former officer

Kate Carroll. Pic: Presseye.
Kate Carroll. Pic: Presseye.

The widow of Stephen Carroll has said she has sympathy with one of her husband’s colleagues who admitted faking documents and interviews during an investigation.

John Gillespie (33), who was the first officer on the scene after Constable Carroll was killed on March 9, 2006, was given a 12 month conditional discharge after pleading guilty to a misconduct charge in relation to a separate road traffic accident.

Newry Crown Court heard last Monday that John Gillespie (33) has suffered from survivor’s guilt and Post Traumatic Stress.

Kate Carroll has since spoken of her sympathy with Gillespie, whose actions she said she did not condone.

Gillespie’s barrister said: “He attended to Constable Carroll as he lay dying, his blood on his uniform.

“It left a very devastating effect on him lasting a significant period of time.”

A consultant psychologist’s report stated that Gillespie, who now lives in Australia, had not slept a night for three years due to the traumatic effects of the CIRA shooting.

The details of the misconduct charges were described as Gillespie faking two interviews and documents as the investigating officer of a three-vehicle road crash on April 3, 2010.

According to the defence, Gillespie’s “sleepwalk” into the misconduct during the three-year period in question came after professional counsellors “felt they were not qualified” to deal with his experience.

“He struggled on with his work, he did not take time off, which he would have been granted in such tragic circumstances,” said defence. “He does not remember doing any of these things.

“It is inexplicable. There was no motive.”

Judge Kevin Finnegan told Gillespie: “You have had to experience the death of a colleague in the most horrendous of circumstances in which you acted bravely.“You filled out these forms just to keep functioning. Life has not been particularly kind to you up-to-date. I think you deserve as fresh a start as I can give.”

“This should not bar you from any employment of any kind in the future. I wish you well,” said Judge Finnegan.