Officer’s widow decries IRA sentences

“Justice has not been done,’’ Kate Carroll said.

DUBLIN - The widow of a Northern Ireland police officer killed by Irish Republican Army die-hards condemned the length of prison sentences imposed Monday on his murderers, saying they were too short to deter more attacks.

Kate Carroll spoke out after a Belfast judge imposed minimum prison terms on two men from the Continuity IRA splinter group who were convicted of murdering her husband, Stephen, in 2009. He was the first officer to be killed in Northern Ireland since 1998, the year of the US-brokered Good Friday peace accord for the British territory.

Justice Paul Girvan ruled that Brendan McConville must spend a further 22 years in prison and John Wootton 11 years before either could apply for parole. Both have been behind bars since 2009.


McConville, 41, and Wootton, 21, originally received life sentences when they were convicted in February, but the Northern Ireland legal system allows judges to specify minimum terms before parole bids can be considered.

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The Continuity IRA, one of several factions still trying to undermine the peace process in Northern Ireland, lured police into the ambush by vandalizing a family’s house and triggering an emergency call for help.

“Justice has been done? Not for us, it has not,’’ Kate Carroll said.’’