Northern Ireland

Constable Stephen Carroll killers fired at least two bullets

Murder scene
Image caption Constable Carroll was murdered after answering a 999 call

The trial of two men accused of murdering Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon has been given more details about the gun used in the murder.

Brendan McConville, 40, and John Paul Wootton, 20, deny the murder of the policeman in March 2009.

A forensic scientist who examined the remains of two bullets found in the car that Constable Carroll was driving said the bullets were of Yugoslavian origin.

He said they had been manufactured in 1982 and were fired from the same gun.

He also examined spent cartridges found at the scene.

The scientist revealed that the gun had fired at least two bullets, had a Romanian foregrip and was slightly rusted on the inside.

He test-fired the weapon on a number of occasions to work out where it was fired from on the night that Constable Carroll was shot, and said his calculations pointed to a path which was to the back of the Lismore Manor estate.

He told the court that the firing-line was about 50m from where Constable Carroll's car was parked.

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

He said it was unlikely that wire fences surrounding the estate would have affected the direction of the bullets.

Later, under cross-examination by the defence QC, the doctor agreed that if any of the bullets had struck the chain-linked fencing, it "could have deflected the flight of the bullet".

However, the expert said he had examined the fencing and found no damage and in his "opinion the bullet had passed through the fencing".

On Wednesday the court heard from police officers who had carried out searches in the Craigavon area in the days after the killings and who found an AK47 wrapped in bin bags and hidden beneath the oil tank of a house in the Pinebank estate.

The prosecution claim that was the weapon used to kill Constable Carroll.

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

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

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

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 and from the Banbridge area of County Down. He had served in the police force for more than 24 years.

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