John Paul Wootton was sentenced to a minimum of 14 years behind bars
Barra McGrory QC confirmed today he had sought leave to refer the jail terms to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that they were “unduly lenient”.
The widow of Constable Stephen Carroll, 48, had earlier complained that the two dissident republicans convicted of her husband’s murder should have received longer sentences.
Brendan McConville, 41, must serve a minimum 25 years and John Paul Wootton, 21, 14 years for their part in the murder of Constable Carroll, who was shot in the back of the head by a gunman who fired through the window of his unmarked police car in Craigavon, Co Armagh in March 2009.
After they were jailed by Lord Justice Paul Girvan at Belfast Crown Court, Kate Carroll attacked the difference in sentencing between Northern Ireland and England where a police officer’s killer can receive 30 years.
She said: “It gives the message out that it is fine to kill a policeman here because you can get a rap on the knuckles. Justice has been done? Not for us it has not. Stephen is still in his grave.”
Mrs Carroll added: “It should be the same everywhere. You cannot make exceptions in one country. It is disgusting.”
Later the judge issued a statement saying the sentence he handed down to Wootton was within the existing guidelines, but he would support any move to reconsider them because of the need for a greater deterrent in such crimes.
Mr McGrory had already referred Wootton’s sentence to the Court of Appeal, but today said that he had sought leave to refer both sentences on the ground they were “unduly lenient.”
Both Constable Stephen Carroll murder sentences appealed
The DPP wants the sentences of both men convicted of murdering Constable Stephen Carroll referred to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient.
Constable Carroll, 48, was shot dead in Craigavon in March 2009.
Brendan McConville, 40, of Glenholme Avenue, Craigavon, and John Paul Wootton, 20, of Collindale, Lurgan, were found guilty of the murder.
McConville was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years, while Wootton was told he must serve at least 14.
At the end of May it was revealed that Wootton’s sentence would be referred to the Court of Appeal, but there was no mention of McConville’s.
However, in a statement on Monday the Public Prosecution Service said: “The Director of Public Prosecutions, Barra McGrory QC, today confirmed that he has sought leave to refer the sentences imposed on both John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville to the Court of Appeal on the ground that the sentences are unduly lenient.
“The director has exercised his powers under section 36 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (as amended by section 41 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002).”
WITH MANY THANKS TO : BBC NEWS NI.
- ‘I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye’ says widow of Stephen Carroll, policeman gunned down in Northern Ireland (thisislondon.co.uk)
- Both Carroll sentences appealed (bbc.co.uk)
- Review of killers’ sentences sought (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)
- Police Officer’s Widow Ready to Meet Mother of His Killer ! (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Two guilty of Constable Carroll’s murder (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)