Theresa May condemns 'senseless' murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry 'terrorist' incident

Posted On: 
19th April 2019

Theresa May has condemned the "shocking and truly senseless" killing of a 29-year-old investigative reporter in what police have called a "terrorist incident" in Derry.

Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry
Credit: 
PA

The Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed on Friday that a murder inquiry had been launched after Lyra McKee died following a night of disorder in the Creggan area of the city.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: "Unfortunately, at 11pm last night, a gunman appeared and fired a number of shots towards police and a young woman, Lyra McKee, 29 years old, was wounded.

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"She was taken away in a police Land Rover to Altnagelvin hospital but unfortunately she has died there. We have now launched a murder inquiry here in the city.

"We believe this to be a terrorist act, we believe it has been carried out by violent dissident republicans.

"Our assessment at this time is that the New IRA are most likely to be the ones behind this and that forms our primary line of inquiry."

Police are now searching the area for firearms and explosives after more than 50 petrol bombs were thrown at officers and cars were set on fire in a night of unrest.

Responding to the news, the Prime Minister said: "The death of Lyra McKee in last night's suspected terrorist incident in Londonderry is shocking and truly senseless."

Mrs May added: "My deepest condolences go to her family, friends and colleagues. She was a journalist who died doing her job with great courage."

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley meanwhile said she was "deeply shocked and saddened" to learn of Ms McKee's death.

And she warned: "Those responsible for last night's violence have nothing to offer anyone in Northern Ireland.

"Their intolerable actions are rejected by the overwhelming majority of people who want to build a peaceful and more prosperous future for everyone in Northern Ireland."

FOSTER: 'NO ONE WANTS TO GO BACK'

The disorder meanwhile drew swift condemnation from Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, who hit out at a "senseless act" that had left a family "torn apart".

"Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong," she tweeted.

"It is equally wrong in 2019. No one wants to go back. My thoughts are also with the brave officers who stood in defence of their community."

And Sinn Féin deputy leader Michelle O'Neill said: "I unreservedly condemn those responsible for killing this young woman.

"We will remain resolute in our opposition to the pointless actions of these people who care nothing for the people of Derry.

"We remain united in our determination to building a better and peaceful future for all."

'COURAGE'

Seamus Dooley of the National Union of Journalists paid tribute to the “courage, style and integrity” of Ms McKee.

The reporter, whose work has been published in outlets including The Atlantic and BuzzFeed, rose to prominence in 2014 with a blog post - later turned into a short film - called 'Letter to My 14-year-old self', which detailed her experiences of growing up gay in Belfast.

In 2016 she was named as one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30”, and had recently signed a two-book deal with Faber & Faber.