Northern Ireland

Four charged with attempted murder of John Caldwell are from Protestant background

Detective Chief Superintendent John Caldwell
Detective Chief Superintendent John Caldwell

Four of the seven men charged with the attempted murder of senior PSNI man John Caldwell are from a Protestant background.

The accused were among 11 people, including eight from a Protestant background, arrested in a major PSNI operation in Co Tyrone on Friday.

Ten people were detained in the Omagh area, while one was arrested in the Coalisland district.

Those arrested included several members of one family, including a mother and father.

Mr Caldwell (48) was left fighting for his life after being shot at the Youth Sport Omagh complex on the Killyclogher Road in February.

He remained in critical condition for several weeks but was released from hospital last month.

A claim of responsibility for the New IRA attack was later posted on a wall in Derry.

Around 10 rounds were fired at Mr Caldwell by two gunmen as he packed footballs into his car after a youth soccer training session.

It is understood that a revolver and a 9mm handgun were used in the attack.

Those accused of attempted murder include two men aged 28, and five others aged 33, 38, 45, 47 and 72.

A father and two sons are among those charged.

Two men, aged 38 and 45, have also been charged with membership of a proscribed organisation, namely the IRA.

Three men, aged 28, 33 and 47, have also been charged with "preparation of terrorist acts".

All seven are expected to appear before Dungannon Magistrates Court via video link on Monday.

The remaining four people arrested on Friday, two women aged  52 and 34 and two men, aged 34 and 21, have been released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

Mr Caldwell was pictured attending a garden party at Hillsborough in Co Down last week and held a private meeting with King Charles.

At a press conference, Detective Chief Superintendent Eamon Corrigan said the senior officer is making a "good, steady recovery" and revealed how on the night of the shooting colleagues "feared that he would die and it was being treated as a potential murder from the beginning of the investigation".