Two men arrested over attempted murder of female officer

Michelle Devane and Rebecca Black, PA
·3-min read

Two men have been arrested in connection with the attempted murder of a female police officer.

The PSNI said a man, 36, was arrested in the Lettershandoney area in Co Derry and another, 26, was taken into custody in the Creggan area.

Detectives from the PSNI’s Terrorism Investigations Unit made the arrests on Friday.

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process are suspected of involvement after a bomb was placed beside the part-time officer’s car at her home in Dungiven, Co Londonderry, on Monday.

The device, described as being designed to create a fireball, was left beside where the officer’s three-year-old daughter sits in the car.

Detective Superintendent Richard Campbell, head of the Terrorism Investigation Unit, said detectives “arrested two men under the Terrorism Act in Derry/Londonderry in connection with the viable device which was discovered beside the young mother’s car in Ballyquin Road, Dungiven, on Monday April 19”.

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The men have been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite where they are being questioned by detectives.

Meanwhile, police have launched an information portal as part of their investigation into the incident.

Mr Campbell said police are aware that a claim has been made on behalf of the New IRA, adding that it is a “strong line of inquiry”.

He added: “We are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the viable device which was discovered beside the young mother’s car in Ballyquin Road, Dungiven, on Monday.

“The device, which had explosives attached to a container with flammable liquid, was designed to cause a fireball which would have engulfed the victim’s car and anyone in it or anyone close by, or those calling to the house.

“What is really distressing is the terrorists placed the bomb at the rear of the car directly at the point where the victim’s three-year-old daughter sits. It demonstrates the complete and utter disregard those who planted it had for the life of a mother and her very young daughter.

“This was a cowardly and despicable act carried out by desperate people. They deserve no support from any part of our community.

PSNI vehicles
PSNI vehicles block a road near the scene of the incident (Niall Carson/PA)

“I appeal to anyone who has any knowledge of this attack, or indeed of anyone involved in dissident republican or other violent or terrorist activity, to come forward and provide any information they have to the police.

“We particularly want to hear from anyone who was in the area of Ballyquin Road, Dungiven, between Monday April 12 and Monday April 19.

“Today we have launched the Major Incident Public Portal, at https://mipp.police.uk/operation/PSNI21Q07-PO1, so that people can tell us what they know, send photographs or upload video or dashcam footage.

“I am appealing to anyone who has any information to talk to us. Please pick up the phone and tell us what you know on 101, alternatively on the anonymous Crimestoppers charity number on 0800 555 111, or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/.

“We all need to work together to bring those responsible for attempting to kill a three-year-old child and her mother to justice.”