Lyra McKee’s family ‘waiting for justice’ three years after her murder

·3-min read
Lyra McKee’s sisters’ Nichola Corner (left) and Joan Hunter (right) stand with Ms McKee’s partner Sara Canning (centre) during a vigil attended by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Guildhall in Derry, to mark the third anniversary of Lyra McKee’s murder. (PA Wire)
Lyra McKee’s sisters’ Nichola Corner (left) and Joan Hunter (right) stand with Ms McKee’s partner Sara Canning (centre) during a vigil attended by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Guildhall in Derry, to mark the third anniversary of Lyra McKee’s murder. (PA Wire)

The sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has made a fresh appeal for information to bring her killer to justice.

Vigils were held in memory of the 29-year-old in Belfast and Londonderry on Monday, the third anniversary of her death.

Her friends and family visited the spot at Fanad Drive in Derry where she died after being struck by a bullet during rioting in the area three years ago.

No one has yet been convicted of her murder.

An extremist group styling itself the New IRA has previously claimed it was responsible for killing the journalist and author.

Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry (PA) (PA Media)
Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry (PA) (PA Media)

Her sister Nichola Corner told the vigil in Derry that her family are still waiting for justice.

“Three years ago our sister Lyra McKee was murdered here in this city, and still three years on, we are waiting for justice for Lyra, the person who pulled the trigger of the gun that led to her death still walks these streets, and while they walk these streets, these streets will not be safe for the people of this city,” she said.

“We appeal to anyone with information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for our sisters’ death, we appeal to them to come forward. It’s never too late.

“We want to thank all the people who have come to honour Lyra and to remember her as a journalist, as a human being and as a person who loved this city. We hope that you’ll continue to keep Lyra in your hearts and in your minds in a very dignified way.”

Lyra McKee’s sister Nichola Corner speaking during a vigil attended by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Guildhall in Derry, to mark the third anniversary of Lyra McKee’s murder. (PA Wire)
Lyra McKee’s sister Nichola Corner speaking during a vigil attended by members of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Guildhall in Derry, to mark the third anniversary of Lyra McKee’s murder. (PA Wire)

Prayers were said by local priest Father Joseph Gormley at the scene, and wreaths were placed.

Ms McKee’s partner Sara Canning recalled the night of her death.

“When I think of that night, my memory of being here is very short because we were only here for eight minutes,” she said.

“If I came here at night-time, I think I would have a massive anxiety attack, but during the day I don’t recognise it. It is a different street to me, which is the only reason I can be here.

“I grew up in Northern Ireland, I had seen many a riot and it was no different to most riots. It was just when I heard the crowd make a noise that I had never heard a crowd make before I thought, ‘There is something going to happen here’, and I turned to Lyra to say we need to move and she wasn’t there.

“Then I looked down and she was on the ground. From then on, it was a blur of action and getting her into the back of the (police) Land Rover and the Land Rover went tearing off down the street with them working on her. That was the horror of that night.

“It has completely destroyed us, (Ms Canning and Lyra’s family). Physically, trauma has an impact. Mentally, trauma has an impact. Lyra is incredibly important to us. She made all of our lives much better.

“I didn’t have Lyra in my life for very long, not as long as her sisters, but she made every part of my life better for the time she was in it, and I wanted her in my life for the rest of my life.”

In Belfast, a new banner in memory of Ms McKee was unveiled on the steps of St Anne’s Cathedral where then Prime Minister Theresa May, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Irish president Michael D Higgins were among those who attended her funeral in 2019.

Police have also made a fresh appeal for information to bring those responsible for Ms McKee’s murder to justice.

Detectives said they have made 30 arrests and nine people have been charged, three with murder and six with public order offences, in relation to the shooting of the author.

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