Page last updated at 20:35 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Constable Stephen Carroll murder suspect denied bail

Constable Stephen Carroll
Constable Stephen Carroll was murdered in Craigavon in March

The High Court has heard that forensic tests are still to be carried out on more than 600 items seized following the murder of a police officer.

Prosecutors made the disclosure as they opposed a bail application by a teenager accused of killing Constable Stephen Carroll in March.

John Paul Wootton, 18, of Collingdale, Lurgan is also accused of Continuity IRA membership and having information likely to be of use to terrorists.

He was refused bail.

Constable Carroll was shot dead in an ambush as he responded to an emergency call in Craigavon.

A crown lawyer claimed written and photographic material has been seized which links the suspect to the terrorist organisation behind the murder.

She said this included notebooks containing minutes of Continuity IRA meetings, and a computer document with promotional flyers and a recruitment drive.

Bail was refused by the judge who described the alleged evidence against Wootton as a "formidable body of circumstances".


According to the prosecution a Citroen Saxo car owned by the accused, then aged 17, was parked 150 yards from the scene of Constable Carroll's murder and driven off within minutes of the shooting.

Electronic surveillance was used to track the vehicle, which has since been seized and forensically examined, the court heard.

Clothing and cartridge discharge residue was recovered from the car. A sweatshirt belonging to Wootton was said to contain some of the residue.

The crown lawyer claimed more particles consistent with the ammunition used in the shooting was found on a brown coat retrieved in the boot of the Saxo.

This coat has been forensically linked to former Sinn Fein councillor Brendan McConville, 38, of Glenholme Avenue, Lurgan, who is also charged with the murder.


The barrister stressed how the probe into the killing was extensive and ongoing.

She said: "There is also forensic testing of over 600 items that were seized and remain outstanding in relation to the whole inquiry."

She added that, following his arrest, Wootton declined to give an account to police.

A defence barrister argued there was no DNA evidence linking his client to the scene of the shooting.

He also claimed a scientific report established that some of the cartridge discharge residue could not have come from the murder weapon.

An agreed bail address in Belfast was available, along with a £20,000 cash surety which Mr Wooton's uncles were prepared to lodge.

Refusing bail, Mr Justice McLaughlin ruled it was not a case where the accused should be released.

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