7 Apr 2011

Police investigating PC Ronan Kerr murder make second arrest

Detectives investigating the murder of Catholic Police Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh on Saturday make a second arrest and release new images in their hunt for the bomber.

PC Ronan Kerr's coffin is carried my police in Northern Ireland. He was killed by a bomb in Omagh on Saturday (Reuters)

The 40-year-old suspect was stopped in a car on the road between Omagh and Ballygawley in Co Tyrone at 8.20am.

He is being questioned about the murder of 25-year-old PC Ronan Kerr in Omagh and also about a significant cache of weapons and explosives discovered by police in nearby Coalisland on Tuesday night.

A 26-year-old suspect arrested in Scotland yesterday in relation to the arms find has now been re-arrested over the murder.

Both suspects are being questioned at Antrim police station.

PC Ronan Kerr, 25, was killed when a booby trap device exploded under his car at his Omagh home, near Beragh, as he got in to go to work on Saturday.

His murder, blamed on dissident republicans opposed to the peace process, has provoked cross-community condemnation.

Photo released by detectives of PC Ronan Kerr's car (Reuters)

Photo released

Detectives investigating PC Kerr’s death have released a photo of the scene (left), taken two hours before the bomb exploded in Omagh on Saturday.

It shows PC Kerr’s black Ford Mondeo parked outside his home in Highfield Court. Yards away, two men compete in the Omagh Half Marathon, and a young girl watches.

Police believe the explosive device, which may have contained up to half a kilo of high explosives, had already been planted under PC Kerr’s car at this time. Two hours later, when he got into the vehicle, it detonated.

The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Superintendent Raymond Murray, said: “This device had the potential to kill or maim anyone who happened to be in the area when Ronan got into his car – whether that was him, two men taking part in a fun run, or an innocent five year old girl watching the race.

“We already know it was murderous. Now we have evidence that it was potentially indiscriminate.”

Police will return to the scene on Thursday to map movements in the area ahead of the bomb’s explosion on Saturday, and appealed for more information. Charity Crimestoppers has offered a £50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for PC Kerr’s murder.

Political unity

Political leaders from both sides of the Irish border attended the funeral of the Catholic police officer on Wednesday in an unprecedented show of unity.

The President of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), Christy Cooney, and members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) came together to carry PC Ronan Kerr’s coffin to the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Beragh, Co Tyrone, while in Dublin, the Irish flag at Government Buildings flew at half-mast.

First Minister Peter Robinson became the first Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader to attend a Catholic Mass while the presence of Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the funeral of a police officer also represented a show of togetherness that would have been almost unthinkable during the Troubles. Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was also in attendance.