Man charged with Lyra McKee murder picked up bullet casings, court hears
The journalist was shot dead while observing rioting in Derry
Scuffle with police and protesters as Paul McIntyre arrives at Derry Magistrates Court on Thursday.
Paul McIntyre (52) with an address at Kinnego Park in Derry, appeared at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
He is also accused of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and membership of a proscribed organisation.
A PSNI detective said she believed she could connect Mr McIntyre to the charges.
Ms McKee, pictured above, was shot dead as she watched a riot in the Creggan area of the city on April 18th last year.
After Ms McKee’s murder, footage was circulated by the police which appeared to show a man firing a gun, and another man bending down to pick up the casings.
Defence solicitor Derwin Harvey told the court there was “scant” evidence to connect his client to the charges. This evidence, he said, rested on a comparison of clothing and poor quality mobile phone footage.
An application for bail was adjourned until February 27th and Mr McIntyre was remanded in custody.
Lyra McKee’s partner Sara Canning, her sister Nichola Corner, and number of other relatives and supporters were in court for the hearing. Some wore t-shirts reading “Speak out for Lyra”.
In a statement on Wednesday, 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.”
Outside the court around 40 supporters of Mr McIntyre scuffled with police ahead of his arrival and at one point stood across the road to block it. They held placards reading “Paul McIntyre British scapegoat” and “British injustice is not justice”, as well as posters bearing the logo of the dissident republican political party Saoradh.Cheered
They cheered as he raised his handcuffed arms aloft as he was led from an unmarked Land Rover into the court.
Ms McKee was a gay rights activist and 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, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and 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.
Power sharing was resurrected last month and the first same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland took place this week.
The New IRA said it carried out the killing of Ms McKee.- Additional reporting from PA