'KATE'S FACE FILLED WITH HORROR'
Chief Inspector Graham Dodds said the walk along her driveway felt like the longest of his life and he will never forget the look of absolute horror on Kate's face when she came to the door.
Now exactly one year on from the murder of Constable Stephen Carroll, the police battle against an ever-present dissident threat is "more determined than ever".
Constable Carroll was shot dead on the night of March 9 last year by the Continuity IRA in a murder that shocked the world and changed his wife's life forever.
Speaking for the first time since that fateful night, Chief Inspector Dodds, has told of the PSNI's determined fight against those criminals who killed his colleague.
Mr Dodds, who was a Superintendent based in Portadown at the time of the murder, told the Leader the PSNI are working in Constable Carroll's honour.
"Steve's murder has made me even more determined to go out every day and do my job of protecting the public to the best of my ability," said the Chief Inspector, who is now an Area Commander based in Fermanagh.
"Myself and my colleagues, especially Stevie's colleagues in Craigavon, think 'If we can just do this for Stephen'. We are not put off by the dissident threat - if anything we are all more determined to do the job right." Chief Inspector Dodds said the memory of telling Kate Carroll her husband was dead is one he will never forget.
"The walk up the drive to her home was one of the longest of my life," he said.
"When she opened the door the look on her face was one of absolute horror. Stephen had told her that if an officer arrived at the door wearing a silver peaked cap and with a female officer in tow, she would know he was dead.
"I didn't have to say anything at first - she just said to me 'Please don't tell me he's dead'. I could see her world being crushed before my eyes."
Although he met Kate in such tragic circumstances, Chief Inspector Dodds said they have formed an unbreakable bond since that day last March.
"The week after Steve died was a very intense time," he said. "Kate has told me that when she sees me she is reminded of me coming to the door to break her world.
"I find it very hard that I had to do that. It has been a privilege to know Kate but there are so many other circumstances under which we could have met. We often text and talk on the phone and try to meet up every few weeks." Chief Inspector Dodds admitted this past year has been an extremely difficult one. "There have been moments I have found myself in tears sitting at my desk in the office on my own. Steve was a good officer - a family man - and his life has been lost for nothing.
"But Stevie's unit was back out on the streets very quickly after his death, and are more determined than ever - for Steve."