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Sunday 20 October 2019

'Our hopes have been snuffed out by this barbaric act' - Lyra's heartbroken partner

Death must not be in vain: Sara Canning, partner of Lyra McKee, speaks at a vigil yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Death must not be in vain: Sara Canning, partner of Lyra McKee, speaks at a vigil yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Lyra McKee's heartbroken partner said their hopes and dreams were "snuffed out" by a single, barbaric act.

Sara Canning spoke at a vigil at the scene where the 29-year-old journalist was murdered on Thursday night.

Ms Canning said her partner's "senseless murder" in Derry had left her family without a "beloved daughter, a sister, an aunt and a great aunt and has left so many friends without their confidant".

"Our hopes and dreams and all of her amazing potential was snuffed out by this single barbaric act," she said.

"Victims and LGBTQI community are left without a tireless advocate and activist and it has left me without the love of my life, the woman I was planning to grow old with.

"This cannot stand, Lyra's death must not be in vain because her life was a shining light in everyone else's life and her legacy will live on and the life that she has left behind," she added.

Police have blamed the anti-peace process New IRA for the killing shots that were aimed at their officers in the Creggan estate.

Detectives believe the violence was orchestrated in response to an earlier search by officers aimed at averting imminent trouble.

They said more than one person was involved in the murder.

Lyra's close friend Ann Travers, whose sister was shot dead by IRA gunmen in 1984, said Ms McKee was a journalist "who liked to help others, to try to give answers to people and empower people".

The journalist was a "hero" to many in the LGBT community, advocacy workers said.

John O'Doherty, director of the Rainbow Project, said she had a huge impact on many in Northern Ireland's LGBT community. She supported people in coming out and used her own story to empower others to live as their most authentic selves, he added.

"To lose someone like Lyra at any age is a difficult thing to accept, but to lose her at 29 in such despicable and avoidable circumstances is devastating," Mr O'Doherty said.

"Our thoughts today are with Lyra's family, partner, friends and everyone across Northern Ireland society who will be feeling this loss. Violence to achieve political aims can never be justified and we hope that the perpetrator is brought swiftly to justice."

Meanwhile, the brother of slain journalist Veronica Guerin described the killing as "an act of butchery".

"I don't think the term outrage is strong enough," he told the Irish Independent.

"It was an immoral attack."

Fingal county councillor Jimmy Guerin said: "All she was doing was doing her job. Her only crime was standing too close to a PSNI vehicle."

Irish Independent

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