Northern Ireland

Stephen Carroll murder accused had homes searched

Constable Stephen Paul Carroll, 48, was from Banbridge
Image caption Constable Stephen Carroll, 48, was the first police officer to be killed since the formation of the PSNI

The homes of two men on trial for the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll in 2009 were searched for evidence and items were taken away by police, a court has heard.

Brendan McConville, 40, and John Paul Wootton, 20, are on trial for the murder of the policeman in March 2009.

Both deny murder and possession of an AK47 assault rifle.

A number of police officers gave evidence about searching the homes of the two men on Wednesday.

The court was told that Mr Wootton's house was searched for proof that he owned a gold Citroen Saxo car.

On Monday a prosecuting barrister claimed that Mr McConville's DNA was found on a brown jacket removed from the boot of the car and that gun residue was also discovered on the coat.

Police said they were looking for the likes of muddy and wet clothing and footwear; mobile phones and sim cards; balaclavas and paramilitary photographs; computers and memory sticks during the searches.

The court heard how Mr McConville's home was searched and 80 items of clothing were taken from the home where his son was also staying.

One officer conceded in relation to three pairs of gloves found there, that she was unable to say which clothes belonged to whom.

There was also evidence about the search of another house in Drumbeg belonging to a man not present before the court, and information given on finding a CD in an electronic safe.

'Rapidly fatal'

Earlier, the state pathologist said that the single bullet that killed the police officer was "rapidly fatal".

Prof Jack Crane said the bullet entered Constable Carroll's head near the left ear and passed through the base of the skull.

He told the court that the bullet transcended through the police officer's brain before exiting in the floppy part of the right ear.

He also said there were other minor injuries to Constable Carroll caused by fragmenting glass.

Prof Crane said that after Constable Carroll had been shot attempts were made to resuscitate him, which would explain two fractured left ribs which he had also found.

Constable Carroll, 48, was shot in the head in Craigavon after answering a 999 call.

At the time, dissident republicans, the Continuity IRA, claimed they were responsible for the shooting.

Image caption Constable Carroll was murdered after answering a 999 call

Constable Carroll was the first police officer to be killed since the formation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

He was a married man with children from the Banbridge area of County Down. He had served in the police force for more than 24 years.

Mr Wootton's 39-year-old mother Sharon denies perverting the course of justice by removing a computer from her home following the shooting.

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