Northern Ireland news

Mother of Lyra McKee 'wants to reclaim daughter from public ownership'

Lyra McKee was shot dead in Derry in April during rioting
Rebecca Black

The mother of murdered Lyra McKee wants to "reclaim her daughter" from public ownership.

The killing of the 29-year-old by dissident republicans in Derry in April sparked outrage and headlines across the world.

Her funeral at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast was attended by Prime Minister Theresa May, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and President Michael D Higgins.

During that service, Fr Martin Magill urged Northern Ireland's politicians to resume political talks to restore power-sharing government.

In the intervening three months, Ms McKee's murder has been written about numerous times in terms of the police investigation to find her killers, pressure on political party Saoradh to condemn the killing and public events such as the recent walk in her memory.

Ms McKee's sister Nichola Corner said the full glare of the media coverage has been at times difficult to deal with.

Lyra McKee's mother Joan McKee and sister Nichola Corner at an awards ceremony. Picture by Journalists' Charity, Press Association

She said her family now wants to reclaim Lyra.

"My mummy does feel that people have been treating her daughter as public property and she wants to ask people to stop doing that, she wants to reclaim her daughter," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

No-one has yet been charged with the murder of Ms McKee.

Mrs Corner also reissued her appeal for anyone with information to come forward.

She said that the family feel they are "living in a nightmare that you just can't wake up from", and also revealed she had initially heard her sister received only minor injuries during the riot she had been observing in Creggan.

"I got a phone call to say that Lyra had been injured, hit in the head, and police had taken her to hospital," she said.

"I actually thought she'd maybe been hit by a bottle, a brick or some kind of object of that nature."

Mrs Corner said when she was told her sister had been shot in the head, she was so devastated she was "screaming and couldn't breathe".

A mural of murdered journalist Lyra McKee in Kent Street, Belfast Picture Mal McCann.

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