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Don't let bombers win - mum

THE devastated mother of a policeman murdered in a car bomb has urged other Catholics not to be put off from joining the PSNI.

Yesterday, as others were celebrating Mother's Day, grieving Nuala Kerr paid a hear-felt tribute to 25-year-old Ronan.

"He was a wonderful son and brother, always had a smile and a helping hand for everyone," she said.

"It's a sad day for our community. Ronan was a valued member and he had so much to offer.


"This is at a time when we are striving for a neutral police force for the good of our country, and I urge all Catholic members not to be deterred.

"We all need to stand up and be counted and to strive for equality. We don't want to go back into the dark days again of fear and terror."

Constable Kerr, who was originally from Beragh, Co Tyrone, died outside the house he shared with two friends -- two miles from the scene of the Omagh bomb in 1998. That atrocity killed 29 men, women and children.

The booby-trap bomb that claimed the life of Constable Kerr could have been under his car for days before it detonated, it has emerged.

Neighbours tried to help the stricken officer after hearing the explosion, but his car burst into flames and he was trapped inside. He is only the second PSNI officer to die at the hands of republican terrorists, following the murder of Stephen Carroll two years ago. Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt last night said the young officer had not used his Ford Mondeo for around 48 hours leading up to the fatal explosion.

"The bomb could have been there for a couple of days," said Mr Spratt. "That means neighbours' lives could also have been endangered for up to 48 hours before the bomb went off."

Last night, no one had been arrested in connection with the incident and the police appealed for the public to come forward with information. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the car bomb attack, although there are reports that it was masterminded by a gang of former Provisional IRA activists.

Senior security sources said the group, which is based in east Tyrone and comprises local Real IRA members, operates almost as a freelance outfit.

A wake for Constable Kerr is under way and the funeral is expected to take place in the next couple of days.