The PSNI have charged 52 year-old Paul McIntyre in connection with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.
McIntyre was arrested yesterday along with three men in their 20s who have since been released without charge.
McIntyre has also been charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and professing to be a member of a proscribed organisation.
Ahead of his appearance at Derry Magistrates’ Court this morning, protesters gathered in support of the accused. They held placards saying he is a “political hostage” and a “British scapegoat” and refused to move when instructed to do so by police.
— Aodhán Roberts (@DerryFootage) February 13, 2020
Lyra McKee’s partner Sara Canning arrived at court today for the hearing along with several other members of Ms McKee’s family who wore t-shirts with Lyra’s picture in the public gallery.
McIntyre is alleged to have committed a joint enterprise with an unknown gunman by picking up the cased of the bullets used to kill her, the court heard.
Following the 50 minute hearing, McIntyre was remanded in custody.
Defence lawyer Derwin Harvey said: “The allegation against Mr McIntyre is that Mr McIntyre is at this riot and a male shoots the gun and that Mr McIntyre, after the gun was shot, picks up the cases.”
McIntyre will next appear in court on February 27.
Lyra McKee was murdered by the so-called “New IRA” on the evening of April 18, 2019, while reporting on riots that had broken out in the Creggan estate in Co. Derry.
This is the first time someone has been charged in connection to her murder, and police are still asking their public for help in gathering evidence “to bring the gunman to justice.”
PSNI 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.”
Many tributes have been paid to the young woman, most recently, she was remembered at the 2020 GALAS awards.
A vigil took place in April 2019 in Dublin’s Garden Of Remembrance. Seamus Dooley, Irish secretary of the NUJ, told those gathered that the vigil was also a “celebration of a feminist, an activist, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a journalist, a remarkable human being, a kind, compassionate, funny and caring person who brought light and laughter wherever she went, even as often she was angry, frustrated and mad as hell at those who refused to move at the pace which she would have them move.
“A person who refused to accept that things had to be the way they were.”
If you have any information you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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