Foiled attempt to kill Belfast police officer 'could also have killed his family' - Crime - UK - The Independent

Foiled attempt to kill Belfast police officer 'could also have killed his family'

 

A foiled attempt to murder a police officer in Northern Ireland was carried out by dissident republicans who could also have killed his family, police said.

The Belfast-based Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) constable was about to take his wife and two young children out for Sunday lunch yesterday when he checked under his car outside his house in the city and discovered a viable device.

Assistant Chief Constable George Hamilton said: "If that officer had not checked under his car we would have been looking at a murder or multiple murders."

The constable was checking his car outside his house on the Upper Newtownards Road when he found the device yesterday.

Dissidents have repeatedly targeted security force members in recent years. Over the last five years there have been 115 arrests and 35 charges and 64 officers have had to leave their homes, a police spokeswoman said.

In November long-serving prison officer David Black, 52, was shot dead in a motorway ambush in Co Armagh as he drove to work.

A group styling itself the "new IRA" claimed that attack. The faction was formed in the summer when a number of splinter groups joined forces.

In April 2011 newly qualified police officer Ronan Kerr, 25, died when a dissident booby trap car bomb exploded under his vehicle at his home in Omagh.

Mr Hamilton appealed for anyone with information on the latest murder bid to come forward.

"All right-minded people need to condemn this, it is a repugnant and inhumane act," he said during a Belfast press conference.

"We believe that the consequences of this could have been absolutely devastating for the officer, his family, the police family and for the community across Northern Ireland.

"He is a good officer and hard working. His purpose is to serve his community.

"Those people who are anti-peace...who are not prepared to move forward, have tried to murder this officer, we consider that repugnant, it is inhumane by any standards, in any society that is wrong."

He said there was a severe threat level across Northern Ireland and appealed to officers to be vigilant and check under their cars.

He hoped the device would be useful as evidence because it was discovered and did not engage.

"This murderous type of attack is not the way forward for our society," he added.

"No one is entitled to take the life of another human being in circumstances such as this. Our appeal is for the vast majority of people to stand up against this rump of anti-peace dissident republicanism."

Stormont Justice Minister David Ford condemned those responsible.

"Fortunately, due to the officer's commendable vigilance, the attempt on his life was not successful," he said.

"Let us be clear - this was an attack not only on a police officer and his family but on our whole community. The officer was serving the community, he was working for all of us.

"It is ironic that this latest attack was carried out so close to Stormont, where those who are democratically elected seek to move matters forward through debate.

"The people responsible for this and other recent attacks have no mandate and speak for no-one. They need to recognise the futility of their campaign and respect the wishes of the vast majority of our community who want an end to all violent acts."

Residents of nearby homes were evacuated in the alert. A local church opened its doors to offer shelter while army technical officers (ATO) worked to make the scene safe.

Northern Ireland Office Minister Mike Penning said: "Alongside the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland, I utterly condemn this attack. Those who are responsible offer nothing except terror and misery, not just to this police officer and his family but to his neighbours and the wider community."

PA

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week