Two held over Carroll murder freed

 

TWO MEN aged 31 and 27, who were being questioned in connection with the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon, Co Armagh, earlier this month, were yesterday freed from custody.

Police said the pair were released “unconditionally”.

Nine people remained in custody last night, four being questioned in connection with the murders of two British soldiers at Massereene barracks in Antrim town, and five in connection with the murder of Constable Carroll.

At least two of those being held, including Lurgan republican Colin Duffy, who is being questioned about the Massereene killings, refused food in recent days in protest at their detention, according to dissident republican representatives.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams queried why suspects in the two murder cases were being held under the new terrorism legislation which allows detention for up to 28 days. Those detained for “periods beyond human rights best practice” should be charged or released, he said.

“Regardless of what activity anyone is suspected of being involved in, they have the right to basic human rights protections,” he added.

DUP MP Rev William McCrea said he was happy to support strong anti-terrorist measures including 28-day detention.

PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde had previously stated that he would use the 28-day detention facility where he deemed it necessary but that detainees would not be held in custody any longer than was absolutely necessary.

The forensic tests in relation to the suspected getaway car recovered by police in Randalstown, Co Antrim, after the Massereene killings are understood to be close to completion. The results of these tests could have a crucial bearing on whether anyone is charged.

At Stormont yesterday Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he would “lead from the front” in the fight against dissident groups opposed to the political settlement in the North.

Asked by the DUP if he would support the chief constable in whatever measures he deems necessary to prevent further attacks, Mr McGuinness was emphatic in his support for the police. There was no choice, he said, only the side of “peace and democracy”.

He said support for the peace process from a united community was overwhelming. “If anyone has any scrap of information whatsoever which will lead to the apprehension and conviction of those responsible for trying to plunge our society back into conflict should give that information immediately to the PSNI. There are no ifs, buts or maybes about this.”