Saturday 25 May 2019

PSNI warns of 'new breed of terrorists' emerging after Lyra McKee killing

  • PSNI believes New IRA was behind the murder
  • Reaction from community to the murder represents a real 'sea change' in attitudes to policing
  • Two teenagers arrested in connection with the murder
Flowers and a candle are left at the exact spot where 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry, Northern Ireland April 20, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Flowers and a candle are left at the exact spot where 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry, Northern Ireland April 20, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne

Mark Edwards

The detective leading the investigation into the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry has said it is "very worrying" that a new breed of terrorist is coming through the ranks on the streets of Northern Ireland.

Lyra, who was 29-years-old, died after being shot during disturbances in the Creggan area of the city on Thursday night.

Police have arrested two teenagers who they suspect are members of the dissident republican New IRA and were involved in shooting dead the promising young journalist.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who heads up the PSNI's Major Investigation Team, said terrorists were lurking in the shadows.

Journalist Lyra McKee. Picture: Jess Lowe
Journalist Lyra McKee. Picture: Jess Lowe

"What we are seeing is a new breed of terrorist coming through the ranks and that for me is a very worrying situation," he said.

He said there had been a sea change in community attitudes and that was demonstrated in the revulsion expressed by many at Thursday evening's killing.

The senior detective told a press conference he had met with Lyra's devastated family on Saturday morning.

"Lyra's family have a lot of questions, and today I was able to answer some of them. But I need more help from the community to enable me to answer more of their questions and to be able to bring Lyra's killers to justice.

"Shortly before 11pm on Thursday night 29-year-old Lyra was murdered by terrorists. I believe that those responsible are the New IRA.

"Lyra was killed by shots that were fired indiscriminately in Fanad Drive. The brutal nature of that attack has sent shockwaves around the world. The shots were fired in a residential area at a time where there were large numbers of people, including children, standing by.

"The gunman showed no thought for who may have been killed for injured when he fired those shots."

DCI Murphy appealed to members of the public who filmed footage of the disturbances on Thursday night to come forward and speak to detectives to allow them to view the footage.

Floral tributes are left. Photos: PA
Floral tributes are left. Photos: PA

He added: "We have already received unprecedented support from the local community and I would like to thank them for helping us to seek justice on Lyra's behalf.

"I know that there will be some people that know what happened but are frightened to come forward. I want to reassure you that we will work with you sensitively.

"There is a real sense that what happened to Lyra will mark a sea change. I want people to have confidence to come forward to help us.

"It is really important that those who killed Lyra in this cowardly attack should never be allowed to do this again.

"The individuals responsible for Lyra's murder continue to hide in the shadows, attempting to justify their actions to each other.

"They have shown no courage to offer any explanation directly to Lyra's family. Meanwhile the community continue to work together with Alan and his policing team to bring lasting and positive change for the community of the Creggan. This should be Lyra's legacy.

"Lyra's murder was not just an attack on Lyra. It was an attack on the fabric of this community. Lyra's killers have succeeded in doing one thing and this is in uniting the entire community in condemnation.

"I would appeal to individuals who have information to contact us no matter how small that information may be, contact detectives in 101 or through the Crimestoppers charity."

Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News