Ulster PC shot dead

A POLICEMAN was killed yesterday when a terrorist walked up to him in a busy street in Northern Ireland and shot him in the head, writes Jason Bennetto.

Constable Michael Ferguson, 21, was attacked in the main shopping centre of Londonderry. He was waiting outside the Richmond Centre in Shipquay Street, while colleagues questioned an alleged shoplifter, when the gunman emerged from the crowds and fired at him from close range.

As shoppers dived for cover, the gunman, who was wearing a green track-suit, escaped on foot. A doctor and a traffic warden gave first aid but the Royal Ulster Constabulary officer died shortly after arriving in hospital. PC Ferguson was a single man from Omagh, Co Tyrone, who joined the force less than two years ago. He was the first member of the security forces to die in Northern Ireland this year.

A man, aged 52, was last night charged with causing an explosion and abducting a man in connection with last October's mini-cab bombing near Downing Street. Patrick Murphy, of Southall, west London, will appear at Arbour Square Magistrates Court, east London, tomorrow.

He was arrested on Wednesday and had been held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

No one was hurt in the explosion on 30 October outside the Cabinet Office on the corner of Downing Street. Two armed men are alleged to have forced a mini- cab driver to take his car to Whitehall with a bomb and abandon it. When he stopped he was challenged by police and the area was cleared before the device went off.

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