Northern Ireland news

Lyra McKee was due to meet Booker prize winner Anna Burns

Journalist Lyra McKee who was shot dead in Derry as she was covering rioting in the city

MURDERED journalist Lyra McKee was due to meet Booker prize winning author Anna Burns for dinner last night, according to a close friend.

Documentary film maker Alison Millar said she had invited the pair for an Easter dinner along with Ms McKee's partner, Sara Canning.

"Anna and Lyra had become very friendly. Anna wrote Milkman and Lyra had just signed a book deal with Faber," she told BBC's Today programme.

Ms Millar said she had first met the 29-year-old journalist 15 years ago when she was making a documentary about rape crisis centre in Belfast.

"We are in shock at the violence over here," she said.

"We're in shock at this incredible woman who would have given you the shoes off her feet, the most compassionate human being..."

Meanwhile, west Belfast priest Fr Martin Magill said he had had been in close contact Ms McKee in relation to a book she was writing on two schoolboys who went missing from the area in the 1970s.

"I had never heard of either of the boys but one of them was certainly from this parish. They were taken from a bus stop on the Falls road and may have had special needs. Lyra had put a lot of effort into this book and I hope it gets finished," he said.

Fr Magill said he had contacted Cecilia McCloskey, former principal of St Gemma's school, where Ms McKee and Ms Burns had been past pupils, to inform her of the murder yesterday morning.

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