Man charged with murder of journalist Lyra McKee

12 February 2020, 17:09 | Updated: 12 February 2020, 17:14

Lyra McKee was shot dead during riots in Londonderry last year
Lyra McKee was shot dead during riots in Londonderry last year. Picture: PA

A man has been charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot dead as she observed rioting in Londonderry in April last year.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) statement said: "Detectives from the PSNI's Major Investigation Team have charged a 52-year-old man with the murder of 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee, who was shot dead by terrorists in Derry/Londonderry on 18 April 2019.

"The man, from the city who was arrested by detectives yesterday and taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite, is also charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and professing to be a member of a proscribed organisation.

"He will appear at Londonderry Magistrates Court on Thursday, 13 February. "

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."

It comes after four men were arrested in Northern Ireland on Wednesday in connection with her death.

The four men, aged 20, 27, 29 and 52 were taken into custody in Belfast.

Ms McKee, who was 29 when she died, was standing near a police vehicle on April 18 when she was hit by a single gunshot. She died afterwards from her injuries.

She was the first journalist to be killed in the UK since 2001.

The Belfast writer was living in Londonderry with her partner, Sara Canning.

The gay rights activist was an articulate advocate of a new and more tolerant Northern Ireland and part of the generation which reached adulthood during peace time.

She wrote for publications including Private Eye and Buzzfeed.

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

Catholic priest Fr Martin Magill received a standing ovation when he asked why it took her death to unite politicians.

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

Powersharing was resurrected last month and the first same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland took place this week.