Lyra was killed in 2019 whilst observing riots in Derry, Northern Ireland
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY JESS LOWE
A man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for possessing the gun police understand was used to kill LGBTQIA activist and journalist Lyra McKee in 2019. 29-year-old Niall Sheerin pleaded guilty at a hearing to possession of the weapon between September 11 2018 and June 6 2020. Sentenced to seven years in prison, he was given a further five years on licence.
Mr Justice Fowler specified that he was a member of a “serious terrorist gang who posed a danger to the public”, though didn’t sentence him in connection with the murder for “the prosecution cannot establish to the requisite standard” that he was aware of the gun’s history.
Nichola McKee-Corner, Lyra’s sister, stated that the “story of the gun” had come to an end, but this is in no way the end of the search for justice. “We would again appeal to anyone who has information on the identity of the gunman to come forward and ensure there is justice for Lyra”, she furthered.
Lyra McKee, born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, was a queer journalist that wrote extensively about the consequences of the Troubles. She was an editor for Mediagazer, a news aggregator website, and came to public attention when, in 2014, she wrote a blog post entitled “Letter to my 14-year-old self” about growing up gay in Northern Ireland. She later made this into a short film, further contributing to The Atlantic, The Belfast Telegraph, Private Eye and Buzzfeed News. In 2016, she was named by Forbes as one of its 30 under 30 in media for her outstanding work as an investigative reporter.
Lyra was shot dead whilst observing riots in the Creggan area of Derry. The New IRA claimed responsibility for Lyra’s murder, with ballistics testing finding that the gun in question was used in five shootings over the previous two years. At the time of her death, she had planned to propose to her partner, Sara Canning, having purchased an engagement ring.
Justice for Lyra McKee.
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