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Lyra McKee’s partner says she understands why people can be afraid to speak out against her murder

Reiss Smith August 19, 2019
Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee was shot dead while observing riots in Derry. (PH)

Lyra McKee’s partner said she “understands” why people may be scared of talking to police about the late journalist’s murder.

Sara Canning defended those who have been too afraid to come forward with information, saying that critics must consider the complexities of life in Northern Ireland.

“A lot of people have criticised why more people haven’t come forward, and I have to explain to them, you don’t understand the way of life in those communities,” she told BBC Radio Foyle.

“You don’t understand the hold these people have over their communities.”

McKee is believed to have been killed by a New IRA member while observing rioting in Derry’s Creggan estate on April 18.

The group has admitted responsibility for her murder, calling it a tragic accident and offering its “full and sincere apologies” to her family.

Northern Ireland police chief offers ‘personal reassurance’.

Nine people have been arrested and released in connection with the murder, according to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Detective superintendent Jason Murphy said on Sunday, August 18, that the “intensive investigation” is continuing, and offered reassurances to potential witnesses.

Sara Canning, partner of killed journalist Lyra McKee
Sara Canning, partner of late journalist Lyra McKee (PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty)

“I recognise people living in Creggan may feel it’s difficult to come forward to speak to police. I want to provide a personal reassurance that we are able to deal with these concerns sensitively,” he told The Irish Times.

Murphy said that 140 people have so far come forward with photos, video and other details. He urged members of the public who might have information to call 101.

Lyra McKee’s girlfriend wants the right person behind bars.

Four months after McKee’s murder, Canning said that she is fine with the pace of the investigation if it means the right person is reprimanded.

“We live in Northern Ireland, we have seen how many miscarriages of justice there have been, that’s not something I want,” she told the BBC.

“I want the right person behind bars for the crime they committed.”

She said that should McKee’s murderer turn out to be a young person, she can imagine they would struggle with guilt for the rest of their life.

I want the right person behind bars.

“If that was a young person, then that is the rest of his life that he is tarred with that brush of being a murderer. It is the rest of his life that he has to carry it,” she said.

“How do you rationalise that?”

Since her partner’s death, Canning has become a prominent campaigner for same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

At McKee’s funeral, she made a personal plea to then-prime minister Theresa May, asking her to legislate on the matter.

Equal marriage now looks set to be extended to the region in 2020, after Westminster overwhelmingly voted for an amendment tabled by a Labour backbencher.

More: Lyra McKee, Northern Ireland, Sara Canning

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