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Lyra McKee murder: 140 people contact police with information

Patrick Kelleher April 22, 2019
Lyra McKee murder: 140 people contact police with information

Murdered journalist Lyra McKee (PSNI via Getty)

More than 140 people have contacted police in Northern Ireland with information about the murder of gay journalist Lyra McKee.

McKee, who was 29-years-old, was shot dead last Thursday night while reporting at the scene of riots in Derry. The murder is being treated as a terrorist incident with the New IRA believed to be responsible.

Police said in a statement released today that there has been “a massive public response” to the investigation.

Police urge people to with information to ‘please come forward’

“This was an attack on the community. Lyra, tragically, was a random victim and I need the public to continue to support us,” Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said.

“Many witnesses have contacted us to give us information that has been provided to them. More than 140 people have contacted us via our MIPP with messages, including mobile phone footage. House-to house enquiries are continuing, and all of that is to be welcomed.

“My appeal today to witnesses who haven’t come forward to us is simple. Please, come forward and have a conversation with me. Come and talk to me.”

– Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy

“My challenge is, how do I convert that community intelligence and information into raw evidence that allows me bring offenders to justice.

“My appeal today to witnesses who haven’t come forward to us is simple. Please, come forward and have a conversation with me. Come and talk to me.”

Murphy said police were committed to protecting witnesses so they could endeavour to “bring the gunman who killed Lyra McKee to justice.”

Police say some people are afraid to come forward with information about Lyra McKee murder

“We have sought as an investigation team since Thursday to be extremely sensitive in terms of how we are conducting this investigation for the community of Creggan,” he continued.

“I know there are people in the community who have information but feel they can’t come forward to us, who feel scared. We have sought prosecutorial advice from the Public Prosecution Service, and I want to reassure you that we will work with you sensitively and give you all the support we can.”

Police are urging anybody with information about McKee’s killer to come forward and contact them by calling 101 or by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Murphy also asked that people who have mobile phone footage from the night share it with police.

Lyra McKee murder: 140 people contact police with information
Charles McQuillan/Getty

Lyra McKee was a notable LGBT+ rights activist

McKee was a notable LGBT+ rights activist from Northern Ireland as well as an investigative journalist. She was shot in the head while reporting at the scene of riots in Derry last week and killed.

In an interview with The Irish Times in 2017, McKee said: “I thought at 14 you could not be out and proud; that it was a secret that had to be kept at all costs. I believed that it was better to be dead than out and gay. I believed that because of all the Biblical scripts. I used to sit in my house at night and bargain with God not to send me to hell. I don’t think any child should have to go through that.”

She also said she was “lucky” that her family was supportive when she came out at the age of 21.

“Our hopes and dreams, her amazing potential was snuffed out by a single barbaric act.”

– Lyra McKee’s partner Sara Canning

Speaking at a vigil on Friday in Derry, McKee’s partner Sara Canning said the LGBT+ community had been left “without a tireless advocate and activist” and left her “without the love of my life.”

“Our hopes and dreams, her amazing potential was snuffed out by a single barbaric act.”

“This cannot stand. Lyra’s death must not be in vain because her life was a shining light in everyone else’s life.

“Her legacy will live on in the light that she’s left behind,” Canning said.

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