Omagh witnesses key to Ronan Kerr murder inquiry, says PSNI

Lead detective appeals for information on 10th anniversary of police officer’s death

Constable Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old Catholic police officer, was killed when a bomb exploded under his car outside his apartment in Highfield Close in Omagh, Co Tyrone, on April 2nd, 2011.  File photograph:  PSNI/PA Wire

Constable Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old Catholic police officer, was killed when a bomb exploded under his car outside his apartment in Highfield Close in Omagh, Co Tyrone, on April 2nd, 2011. File photograph: PSNI/PA Wire

 

The detective leading the investigation into the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr has said he believes there are witnesses in the Omagh area who hold the key to jailing his killers.

Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell made an appeal for information on the 10th anniversary of the police officer’s death.

Constable Kerr, a 25-year-old Catholic police officer, was killed when a bomb exploded under his car outside his apartment in Highfield Close in Omagh, Co Tyrone, on April 2nd, 2011.

Dissident republicans are believed to have been responsible.

“Ten years ago today, Ronan left his home to travel to work,” Det Chief Insp Caldwell said. “Despicably, people living in his own community planned and plotted to kill him simply because he was a police officer bravely going out every day to protect people and make communities safer places to live and work.

“No one deserves to be murdered because of how they earn their respectable living and I would ask those living in the Omagh area, who know vital information about the bomb attack and those involved, to bring it forward to police on this 10 year anniversary,” he said. “It is never too late to do the right thing.”

In a statement issued to mark the 10th anniversary of his death, the Kerr family said he was fondly remembered “as the loving son and brother that he was.

“We miss him every day, and not a minute goes by where we don’t feel the pain of his loss, and it’s a searing pain.

“We will never forget his caring nature and his sense of humour. As a family we continue to suffer the devastating impact of having him stolen away in such a vile and cruel way.”

Issuing an appeal for witnesses to come forward, Det Insp Caldwell said police were particularly interested in the origin of some of the component parts of the bomb which killed Constable Kerr, and how they were sourced.

“The key to putting people before a court charged with Ronan’s murder lies with local communities in Omagh and east Tyrone,” he said.

The detective also revealed more information about the extent of the police investigation into Constable Kerr’s murder.

A total of 15,539 individuals have featured in police enquiries, with 8,203 items seized and 122 searches carried out. There have been 19 arrests, and one person has been jailed for offences linked to the overall investigation.

‘Complicated investigation’

The North’s Chief Constable Simon Byrne said his thoughts were with Constable Kerr’s mother and family, and his detectives would follow any new evidence.

“They have conducted a lengthy and complicated investigation incorporating several linked incidents including attempts to murder other police officers, a bomb attack, arms finds and armed robberies.

“There is real potential to bring other people before the courts, but this is heavily dependent on people in the communities of Omagh and east Tyrone coming forward to talk to my officers about anything they know, particularly about the origin and sourcing of the component parts of the bomb,” he said.

Kenny Donaldson of victims and survivors group the South East Fermanagh Foundation said a patch had been added to the organisation’s memorial quilt in memory of Constable Kerr.

“Within Ronan’s patch are images depicting his passions: a car, Beragh Knights GFC, Tyrone County GAA and the PSNI badge.

“On this being Ronan’s 10th anniversary, we extend our thoughts to Ronan’s family... but for families each and every day is an anniversary.

“Where any of us have the power or ability to ease the pain and circumstances of such families and individuals we have an obligation to do so,” he said. “Honouring those who have been stolen away is best achieved by ensuring that the welfare of those left behind is adequately provided for.”

Anyone with information can contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.