Lyra McKee: Police recover gun used in journalist's murder

Death was ‘inevitable and entirely predictable result of terrorist violence’, investigator says

Zoe Tidman
Thursday 11 June 2020 18:56
Police recover gun used to kill journalist Lyra McKee

The gun used to kill journalist Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland has been found, police have said.

The pistol was found by investigators during a search in Derrythe city where the 29-year-old was shot dead in 2019 – last weekend.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: “I can confirm that a gun that was seized and recovered by police last week in Derry was the gun that killed Lyra McKee.”

One line of inquiry is that the weapon was stolen some time ago and used a number of times prior to the journalist’s murder.

The Hammerli X-Esse .22 pistol and a bomb were found during searches in the Ballymagroarty area of the city last week.

McKee was an observer during rioting in Creggan, Derry.

Mr Murphy said the shot which killed the journalist was fired in the direction of officers.

“Those shots were fired intentionally towards police Land Rovers, placing many officers at significant risk of death or serious injury,” the detective superintendent from Serious Crime Branch said.

“The presence of bystanders like Lyra, who were watching the unfolding events, was an inconvenience to the terrorists but the gunman clearly placed no importance on that.”

He added: “Lyra’s murder was not an accident – it was an inevitable and entirely predictable result of terrorist violence.”

Journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry last April

The detective said the most advanced DNA technology available was being used to examine whether the gunman may have left forensic traces within the weapon.

He said: "Our collective efforts have lost no energy or focus. I know who was involved. I know who the gunman is."

Mr Murphy added: "I have asked the scientists to find me the evidence that will enable me to complete the jigsaw of the events of 18 April that I have been building for Lyra's family since the night she was murdered."

He said the focus of the investigation has never just been over who pulled the trigger, and he believes senior members of the dissident republican group the New IRA were involved with the gun being on the streets.

"As the net gradually tightens, those who fired the gun, transported it, moved it, stored it, carried it, hid it or interacted with it in any way, should expect the police at their door," Mr Murphy said.

"One positive forensic result, coupled with the extensive evidence we have already gathered, will have significant consequences for the New IRA."

Paul McIntyre, a 52-year-old man from Kinnego Park in Derry, has been charged with McKee's murder.

The 29-year-old's death helped kick-start political talks leading to the resumption of Stormont powersharing early this year.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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