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Saturday 24 March 2018

Floral tributes mark site of 'total horror'

Claire McNeilly and Michael McHugh

THE body of the 25-year-old Catholic policeman murdered in a car bomb set out on its final journey down winding roads to the family home last night.

Constable Ronan Kerr was leaving for work when he was killed in an explosion outside his Omagh home last Saturday.

The dissident republican atrocity meant he never got to spend Mother's Day with his mum, Nuala, or his siblings, the following day.

Indeed, the family was reunited in the saddest of circumstances at Constable Kerr's widowed mother's house in the village of Beragh, Co Tyrone.

Meanwhile, some six miles away in Omagh, at least a dozen officers yesterday combed the bomb scene at Highfield Close.

Flowers had been placed at the entrance of the cul-de-sac, just off the Gortin Road, accompanied by messages of sorrow.

Colleen Clements (24) laid a bunch of flowers and her father Kenny Clements (55) fought to control his emotions as he placed a poem alongside them.

Apart from the strong smell of petrol in the air, the only reminder of merciless murder was an oil stain.

It remained where the car was parked, punctuated by small specks of exploded glass from the Ford Mondeo's windows.

Neighbour Charlie Dolan said the scene of the explosion was one of "total horror" on Saturday.


"I ran out and he was stretched out at the back of the car," the neighbour said. "There were flames coming from under the car and we got fire extinguishers to try to get them out.

"I knew he was very badly injured at that stage and there was just nothing we could do to save him."

At Constable Kerr's former school, Christian Brothers Omagh, principal Paul Brannigan described him as a cheerful boy.

"He was a very hard-working, quiet young man with great attention to detail in everything that he did," he said.

Irish Independent

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