Carroll bullet proved “rapidly fatal”

Constable Stephen Carroll who was shot dead in Craigavon while on duty.
Constable Stephen Carroll who was shot dead in Craigavon while on duty.

THE bullet shot through the back window of the car in which Constable Stephen Carroll sat during an emergency call-out to Lismore Manor in Craigavon in 2009 proved “rapidly fatal”, a court has heard.

Northern Ireland’s state pathologist Professor Jack Crane gave evidence at Belfast Crown Court on day three of the trial following the murder of the Banbridge policeman almost three years ago.

The bullet which killed Constable Carroll was shot in through his left ear, fractured the bottom of his skull, passed through his brain and left a 2cm exit wound by his right ear.

The 48-year-old grandfather was also left with small cuts to his eyebrow and neck, possibly caused when the window in the car was shattered, Professor Crane said.

Brendan McConville (40) of Aldervale in Tullygally sat in court alongside his co-accused 20-year-old John Paul Wootton, of Collindale.

Both men deny murdering the police constable in March 2009, as well as a series of other charges.

Wootton’s mother Sharon, also of Collindale in Lurgan, was also in the dock. She denies perverting the course of justice.

On Tuesday the court heard emotional testimonies from Constable Carroll’s colleagues who were at the scene of his murder in Craigavon.

Today (Wednesday) a number of police officers, who took part in searches of a number of properties in the days following the killing, gave evidence to trial judge Lord Justice Paul Girvan.

The officers recalled that they had been briefed to recover any clothing that appeared wet or mud-stained, as well as other items including republican or paramilitary paraphernalia, computers and recording devices.

The court heard that, less than 24 hours after the murder, police searched a property in Glenholme Avenue believing it to be the residence of Brendan McConville.

There a number of items were seized, including a black coat and sheepskin jacket. Reading from a log made by one of the officers searching the house, defence barrister Brendan Kelly said the house had appeared “in a poor state of repair, dirty and unkept”.

Mr Kelly then informed the court that, during a further search of the property on March 16 police seized 80 items.

Police also carried out searches of a property in Pinebank - where the court had already heard a long-barrelled weapon was found wrapped in a black bin bag and cling film underneath an oil tank.

A search of a house in Drumbeg recovered a CD from an electronic safe in the kitchen, sim cards, SD cards and DV discs.

Nine days after the murder bin bags were found and seized by police in the backyard of another property in Drumbeg.

The search of a property in Collindale recovered sim cards, a DVD and other items.

Two crime scene investigators detailed their examinations and recovery of items from a gold Citroen Saxo car believed to belong to John Paul Wootton.

Statements were also given from two staff members of Lurgan Jobs and Benefits Office, confirming they handed CCTV footage, recorded on March 4, to police on March 25.

The trial is expected to last two months.