Protest song campaign shocks Banbridge widow

Kate Carroll with her late husband Stephen
Kate Carroll with her late husband Stephen

The widow of murdered PSNI officer Stephen Carroll has said she is shocked that a campaign is under way to push a protest song called ‘Justice for the Craigavon Two’ into the UK charts.

Constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead as he responded to a 999 call in Craigavon, on March 9, 2009.

Brendan McConville, 42, of Glenholme Avenue in Craigavon, and 22-year-old John Paul Wootton, from Colindale in Lurgan, are currently serving life sentences for his murder.

They lost an appeal against their convictions last year.

Angela Nelson, chairperson of the ‘Justice for the Craigavon Two’ group, said: “The single of the song will be launched on March 15 following the BBC Radio 1 official chart show and the group will campaign for the public to download the song over the following week.”

The song is by Pol MacAdaim, a singer-songwriter from Co Louth, and according to its promotional blurb, it “highlights the miscarriage of justice of John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville”.

Kate, 64, said: “We’re coming up to Stephen’s anniversary. Do you know, all I can say is I’m totally shocked.

“I just can’t find the words to say what I want to say, I’m so shocked.”

It was a sentiment she repeated a number of times, adding: “I don’t need anything more of this ongoing in my life at the moment.

“I’m trying to get the rest of my life together ... It has knocked me for six, I can tell you.”

Councillor Nelson – who is an independent representative on Lisburn City Council – said the release of the single “is not intended to hurt Kate Carroll”.

She said: “This is a protest song to raise awareness of the Craigavon Two case because we believe these are two innocent men convicted for something they didn’t do. That does not give Kate Carroll justice either.

“The reason for doing this is not to add to her grief, but to raise the case of a miscarriage of justice.

“What we are doing is not to add to her (Kate Carroll’s) grief, but nobody got justice that day.”

She said that she believes “those two men were set up”.

Councillor Nelson said the reason for the timing of releasing the song – a week after the sixth anniversary of the murder – “is that solicitors for both men have lodged their questions to the Supreme Court in London”.

It also coincides with St Patrick’s week.

After the May 2014 appeal by Wootton and McConville, Mrs Carroll said the case had been hanging over her family like the “biggest, blackest cloud” and the whole process had been “a long, arduous journey”.

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan said he and his fellow appeal judges were satisfied that the original verdict had been correct.

McConville is serving at least a 25-year-sentence for the murder.

Wootton, who was a teenager at the time of the attack, received a minimum 14-year term.

The pair were originally convicted of Constable Carroll’s murder at a non-jury trial in March 2012.