Extremists are lacking in humanity

Every right-thinking person will be horrified to hear that the former Chief Constable, Sir Jack Hermon, had to be moved from a residential care home when he became the subject of a plot by dissident republicans.

For some years now Sir Jack has been suffering from Alzheimer's disease and his wife Lady Sylvia, MP for North Down, had to organise full-time support 18 months ago when his condition deteriorated markedly.

Sir Jack headed the RUC between 1980 and 1990, when the force held the line against a bloody terrorist onslaught – and so he became a prime target for the IRA and their offshoots.

The fact that they are prepared to pursue him even now, as he and his family struggle to come to terms with his illness, is appalling – but we should remember that these are the same people who were responsible for the slaughter of innocents at Omagh.

Since her husband was diagnosed, Lady Sylvia has behaved with an immense amount of courage and dignity and when she has gone public on her personal circumstances she has sought to use the media attention to raise awareness of the illness.

Her family deserves to be left in peace by these fanatics who appear to be devoid of all sense of humanity.