DPP fails in bid to increase jail term for PSNI man’s killer

Constable Stephen Carroll
Constable Stephen Carroll

Northern Ireland’s Director of Public Prosecutions failed yesterday in a bid to have the prison term imposed on one of Constable Stephen Carroll’s murderers increased to at least 30 years.

The Court of Appeal rejected Barra McGrory’s claim that the minimum 25-year term imposed on Brendan McConville was unduly lenient.

Senior judges reserved their decision on a separate bid by the DPP to have co-defendant John Paul Wootton’s tariff raised from 14 to 21 years for his role in the assassination.

Both men are currently serving life sentences after being convicted of the Continuity IRA murder.

Constable Carroll was the first member of the PSNI to be killed.

He was ambushed and shot dead by the Continuity IRA as he responded to a 999 call at Lismore Manor, Craigavon in March 2009.

Last month both men failed in attempts to have their murder convictions overturned.

In court yesterday the case switched to a prosecution challenge against the sentences handed down to the pair.

Mr McGrory argued that the way Constable Carroll was lured to his death represented a significant aggravating factor.

But during exchanges Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan stressed how the guidelines have operated for the last 10 years. It’s for legislators to introduce changes, he pointed out.

Sir Declan, sitting with Lord Justices Higgins and Coghlin, ruled against the application and said reasons would be given at a later stage.