Murder of Stephen Carroll

Stephen Carroll was a Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officer who was killed by the Continuity IRA on 9 March 2009 in Craigavon, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. Carroll's killing marked the first time a serving police officer had been killed since the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Killing of Stephen Carroll
Part of the dissident Irish republican campaign
LocationLinsmore Manor, Craigavon, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Date9 March 2009 (2009-03-09)
About 9:45PM
Attack type
Deaths1 Police officer
PerpetratorContinuity IRA
ConvictedJohn Paul Wootton, Brendan McConville[1]
  • sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole
  • Wootton: After 14 years, latter amended to 18
  • McConville: After 25 years

Two days before the attack the Real IRA shot dead two British soldiers in Massereene, County Antrim. This period marked a significant escalation in the campaign by dissident republicans.


The Continuity IRA smashed a window with a brick knowing the PSNI would respond.[2]

At about 9:45 pm two police vehicles arrived at the scene and when they went to get out they were shot at. A gunman shot Carroll from 50 metres away with an AK-47 while in his patrol car. Carroll was shot in the head.[3]


Flyer demanding the release of the "Craigavon 2" in Dublin, with the logo of Anti Imperialist Action Ireland.

The Continuity IRA claimed responsibility saying their North Armagh Battalion were responsible for the attack and that "As long as there is British involvement in Ireland, these attacks will continue."

On 10 March there was a one-minute silence in the Northern Ireland Assembly.[3] Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated that "These are murderers who are trying to distort, disrupt and destroy a political process that is working for the people of Northern Ireland," Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde called it a "sad day" and said the gunmen were "criminal psychopaths".[4]

Richard Walsh, the spokesman for Republican Sinn Féin, a party linked to the Continuity IRA, said the killings were "an act of war" rather than murder. "We have always upheld the right of the Irish people to use any level of controlled and disciplined force to drive the British out of Ireland. We make no apology for that". He also described the PSNI as "an armed adjunct of the British Army".

Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness said those responsible were "traitors to the island of Ireland" and that "they have betrayed the political desires, hopes and aspirations of all of the people who live on this island."[5][6]

McConville and Wooton have become known as the ‘Craigavon 2’ amongst Irish Republicans who claim their innocence.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Stephen Carroll murder: John Paul Wootton's minimum jail term increased BBC
  2. ^ "Soldiers 'bugged' car owned by Stephen Carroll murder accused". 9 January 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2017 – via
  3. ^ a b McAleese, Deborah (10 March 2009). "Continuity IRA claiming responsibility for killing PSNI officer". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  4. ^ "BBC NEWS - UK - Northern Ireland - Policeman shot dead in N Ireland". Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  5. ^ "Labelling dissidents traitors was remarkable, says Orde -". Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  6. ^ Association, Aine Fox, Press. "Widow of PSNI officer hails Martin McGuinness for denouncing 'traitors'". The Irish News. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Craigavon Two suitable scapegoats in wake of killing backlash, say supporters | Court of appeal | The Guardian". Retrieved 9 April 2021.