Friday 23 August 2019

'Lyra's killers need to hand themselves in' - says murdered journalist's sister

Murdered: Journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead as she tried to do her job reporting on riots in Derry. Photo: Reuters
Murdered: Journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead as she tried to do her job reporting on riots in Derry. Photo: Reuters
Nichola Corner. Photo: Channel 4 News

Ryan Nugent and Jonathan Bell

The sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has called on her killers to hand themselves into the police.

Nichola Corner said her sister deserves justice.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Ms Corner said that "those people need to really think about handing themselves in".

"They need to do the right thing. None of this will ever bring my sister back to my mum, to me, to my brothers, my sisters, her nieces and nephews," she said.

"As far as I'm concerned that's the least these people can do. Anyone who's helping them or guarding them or protecting them, they need to do the right thing as well."

In a powerful interview, Ms Corner said her sister's death must not be in vain and that there must be both political and social change on the back of it.

She said that Lyra didn't see labels and had friends from every background.

"When I could feel myself faltering, I could just hear her say, ‘come on Nic, you can do it. Do it for me. Do it for me’.

"And when I looked down at her wee coffin, I just took a deep breath, focused myself again on the script, and just promised her that I will do my best.

"Failure isn’t an option. We have to make Lyra’s legacy not just about the political landscape but about changing society," she said.

"Lyra didn’t see labels, she didn’t see religion, she didn’t see what political party you were part of, because she had friends in them all."

Wearing a 'failure isn't an option' t-shirt in her interview, Nichola shared a journal entry from Lyra on the day of her death and how she had a plan of action up until April 17, 2020.

Lyra (29) was shot dead while observing rioting in Derry's Creggan estate.

The so-called new IRA claimed responsibility offering it's "full and sincere apologies" to family and friends of the reporter. Something described as "mealy-mouthed" by partner Sara Canning.

Her death has prompted calls for Northern Ireland's political leaders to come together and find a resolution to restoring the power sharing institutions.

"There is a terrible irony in our Lyra's murder, because she would have understood these people or tried to, and she would have tried to help them," Ms Corner said.

"I suppose they robbed themselves of one person who would have wanted to hear their story and would want to help them move forward.”

Nichola says her sister called her on the day of her killing - as she would have done on any other day.

But after Lyra told her she loved her, her sister asked if she was alright because "something just didn’t seem right".

"I kind of guess, even though I know I spoke to her after that again, in a way that was her soul’s way of saying goodbye.”

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