Man arrested in N. Ireland policeman murder probe

6th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Police investigating the murder of a rookie Catholic police officer in Northern Ireland arrested a man in Scotland on Wednesday in connection with a "significant" arms seizure.

The 26-year-old suspect was detained in Renton, west of Glasgow, as police probed Saturday's killing of Constable Ronan Kerr by a car bomb planted by suspected dissident republicans.

Police said the arrest was linked to a stash of arms found late Tuesday in the Northern Irish town of Coalisland as they investigated the death of 25-year-old Kerr in the town of Omagh.

Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said the arms seizure was "one of the most significant in recent years" and included Kalashnikov rifles, ammunitions and explosives.

"Within the last two hours a man has been arrested... in Scotland in connection with the find of weapons at Coalisland," Harris told reporters in Belfast.

The arms "will now be forensically examined and provide new lines of inquiry for our investigators."

Asked whether the arrest and arms seizure were directly linked to the policeman's murder, he responded: "This is part of one line of inquiry within the Ronan Kerr murder investigation. I am not saying they are directly linked."

The breakthrough in the investigation came as Kerr was laid to rest in his home village of Beragh, in a ceremony attended by senior politicians from both sides of the Irish border.

© 2011 AFP

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