Northern Ireland news

DCI John Caldwell shooting reminder of other attacks on police officers

PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr was killed when a bomb exploded under his car at his home near Omagh in April 2011
Suzanne McGonagle

THE attempted murder of DCI John Caldwell is a reminder of how police officers have been the target of a number of attacks over the past two decades.

In April 2021, a policewoman escaped injury when an incendiary bomb was left beside her car in Dungiven, Co Derry.

The New IRA claimed responsibility for leaving the device, an explosive connected to flammable liquid, outside her home. The part-time officer found the device in a bag beside her car as she left her home.

An unexploded bomb was found under a police officer's car parked at Shandon Park Golf Club in east Belfast in June 2019.

The officer had left his home and drove to the golf club. After playing a round of golf, he returned to his vehicle and noticed a wooden box attached underneath.

Army technical experts were called and dealt with an improvised device packed with 65 grams of TNT. The New IRA claimed responsibility.

Read more: Dissident republicans in Northern Ireland - what do they want? An explainer

In February 2017, a bomb exploded outside the home of a police officer in the Culmore area of Derry. The device was planted under the officer's car before it dropped off. It was then spotted by a neighbour.

Just a few weeks earlier, a police officer was shot and wounded in the arm at a filling station on the Crumlin Road in Belfast. The garage's busy forecourt was sprayed with automatic gunfire in the attack, believed to be carried out by dissident republicans.

Two policemen escaped injury when their patrol car came under fire in the Andersonstown area of west Belfast in November 2015. Up to eight high velocity shots were fired as the officers.

An off-duty PSNI officer was also targeted in Eglinton, Co Derry in June 2015 when a bomb was placed under his car.

In March 2014, police are attacked with a mortar in west Belfast, while automatic weapons were used to fire on PSNI vehicles as they made their way along the Crumlin Road in north Belfast in December 2013.

Three police Land Rovers were struck by up to 15 shots, but there were no reports of any injuries.

In March 2013, police escaped injury when a device explodes in a bin during a parade in Lurgan and in December 2012, an off-duty policeman discovered a bomb under his car in east Belfast.

He found the device during a routine check of his family car on the Upper Newtownards Road as he prepared to take his wife and children out to lunch.

The Real IRA was blamed for attacks on the homes of police personnel in Claudy, Co Derry in September 2011.

An explosive device detonated outside the front door of the officer’s house, while an army bomb disposal team was deployed to make safe a viable bomb left in the garden of the forensic medical officer.

Police recruit Ronan Kerr (25) was killed when a bomb exploded under his car at his home near Omagh in April 2011. Dissident republicans were believed to be behind the attack.

He had been in the PSNI for just a year.

Police constable Peadar Heffron (33) suffered devastating injuries in January 2010 when a booby-trap device detonated under his vehicle close to his house in Randalstown ias he made his way to work in Belfast.

No-one has ever been convicted of the attack which was claimed by Oglaigh na hEireann.

Police officer Stephen Carroll was killed by the Continuity IRA in March 2009 while responding to a call in Craigavon.

In May 2008, a policeman was driving to start a night shift when a booby-trap bomb hidden under his car exploded in Castlederg. He escaped from the vehicle, but suffered serious leg wounds.

Northern Ireland news