Northern Ireland

Constable Carroll murder united Northern Ireland in revulsion

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

It was a time of grief, shock, and resolve.

Constable Stephen Carroll was murdered in March 2009 during a surge in dissident republican activity.

Just two days before the officer was shot dead, two soldiers on duty at Massereene barracks in Antrim were killed by the Real IRA.

But it was the Continuity IRA which claimed responsibility for the death of the police officer.

The then Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said the PSNI would not be stopped by dissident republicans.

"It is self evident that the more universal the support for the small disenfranchised and rather ridiculous group that is that dangerous, to realise their whole attempt is futile," he said.

"We will not step back."

It brought the first and deputy first ministers together to share a widow's grief - uniting to condemn the murder.

Speaking shortly after the death, Peter Robinson said it was "a battle of wills between the political class and the evil gunmen".

"The political class will win," he said.

"We are absolutely determined these people will not direct us, will not frame our agenda and will not cause us to retreat from the steps which we believe to be right to take this country forward."

His words were echoed by Martin McGuinness.

"These people are traitors to the island of Ireland, they have betrayed the political desires, hopes and aspirations of all the people who live on this island and they don't deserve to be supported by anyone," he said.

So who was Constable Stephen Carroll?

He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, he liked a laugh, loved sport, lived for his family.

Born in the Republic, raised in England, and settled in Banbridge, he was also a Catholic and a police officer, starting to think about retirement.

His wife Kate described the conversation she had that morning with her husband.

"He said to me that day he was going to work, he said, 'Kate, you know, we've come through a lot, we've come through this and that and wouldn't it be ironic, just with my last year-and-a-half, that something would happen', and it did," she said.