Northern Ireland news

Police to consider special measures in Lyra McKee murder investigation

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy is to meet the Public Prosecution Service to discuss reassurances for wintesses. Picture by Mal McCann.
Seamus McKinney

MORE than 140 people have contacted police with information about the murder of journalist Lyra McKee.

Police are to examine the possibility of special arrangements for witnesses in any future trial linked to the murder.

The 29-year-old died in Altnagelvin Hospital last Thursday night after she was shot in the head by dissident republicans during rioting in Derry's Creggan.

The detective leading the investigation said he hoped to meet the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) to discuss possible “reassurances” which could be given to any witnesses who might come forward.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said he believed the move was a necessary part of the investigation. Mr Murphy such measures might include anonymity for witnesses or allowing witnesses to give evidence from behind screens or through video footage.

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Mr Murphy said he wanted to gain an understanding from the PPS of such reassurances and how they would stand up to scrutiny.

Last night he revealed more than 140 people had come forward via the Major Incident Public Portal (MIPP).

"We've had a massive public positive response to the investigation since Thursday evening," he said.

"This was an attack on the community. Lyra, tragically, was a random victim and I need the public to continue to support us.

"Many witnesses have contacted us to give us information that has been provided to them. More than 140 people have contacted us via our MIPP with messages, including mobile phone footage. House-to house enquiries are continuing, and all of that is to be welcomed.

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"My challenge is, how do I convert that community intelligence and information into raw evidence that allows me bring offenders to justice."

He appealed for further witnesses to come forward.

"I want to reassure people that you don't have to commit to anything today. I just need to speak to people to understand what they know. We can then look at how we capture that information in the best way possible to protect those witnesses and enable me to bring the gunman who killed Lyra McKee to justice," he said.

"We have sought as an investigation team since Thursday to be extremely sensitive in terms of how we are conducting this investigation for the community of Creggan.

“I know there are people in the community who have information but feel they can't come forward to us, who feel scared. We have sought prosecutorial advice from the Public Prosecution Service, and I want to reassure you that we will work with you sensitively and give you all the support we can."

Journalist, Lyra McKee was fatally wounded during a riot in Derry last Thursday.

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Community disgust at the murder of journalist Lyra McKee was evident in the message painted on Free Derry Wall. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
 

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