Lyra McKee: Man charged with murder of journalist in Northern Ireland

Wednesday 12th February 2020 21:30 GMT

Ms McKee, 29, was shot dead by dissident republicans as she observed rioting in Londonderry last year.

She was standing near a police vehicle when she was hit by a bullet fired by a masked gunman towards officers.

The so-called New IRA said it carried out the killing, which took place on the Creggan estate in Derry on 18 April.

It said Ms McKee was caught in the line of fire while standing with what the organisation called "the enemy".

The 52-year-old suspect was arrested on Tuesday and taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite in Belfast.

He has also been charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and professing to be a member of a proscribed organisation.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland said the man, who comes from the city, is due to appear at Londonderry Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said: "I have always said a number of individuals were involved with the gunman on the night Lyra was killed.

"And while today is significant for the investigation the quest for the evidence to bring the gunman to justice remains active and ongoing."

The gay rights activist, who lived with her partner Sara Canning, was an advocate of a new and more tolerant Northern Ireland.

Ms McKee's death sparked widespread revulsion and a renewed effort to restore a power-sharing agreement in Stormont following years of political instability in the country.

Her funeral was attended by then prime minister Theresa May, Irish PM Leo Varadkar and Irish President Michael D Higgins at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.

At her service in April last year, the priest confronted politicians, saying: "Today we grieve but tomorrow let us fill that hole by adopting Lyra's spirit, example and vision.

"Let us put false starts behind us and once and for all build an alternative Ulster that we, and especially our children, can be proud of.

"Let us make the lasting legacy of Lyra McKee that peace."

Days later, the British and Irish governments announced a new talks process aimed at restoring devolution.

Power-sharing was restored at Stormont last month and the first same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland took place this week.

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