Gun used to murder journalist Lyra McKee found in Northern Ireland

11 June 2020, 17:45 | Updated: 11 June 2020, 18:31

Police say this was the gun used to kill journalist Lyra McKee
Police say this was the gun used to kill journalist Lyra McKee. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Police in Northern Ireland say they have found the gun which was used to murder Lyra McKee.

Lyra, 29, was shot dead in Derry on 18 April last year, while reporting from a riot on the Creggan estate.

She was by bullets which detectives believe were aimed at police vehicles which she was stood next to during unrest.

The gun - a Hemmerli X-Esse pistol - was recovered during the search of a field in Ballymagroarty last weekend.

The German-made firearm was also found with ammunition and a fully-primed bomb hidden inside a lunchbox.

It is believed it was stolen some time ago and had been used prior to her Lyra's killing.

One man has been charged with her murder and a second man has been charged with offences relating to the rioting that preceded it.

DSI Jason Murphy said: “Examinations of the gun recovered in Ballymagroarty last weekend have now confirmed that this is the gun that killed Lyra McKee. Since 18 April last year, we have been collectively focused on seeking to bring to justice those who were involved in Lyra’s murder.

Lyra McKee was shot dead on 18 April last year
Lyra McKee was shot dead on 18 April last year. Picture: PSNI

“That collective effort has never been simply directed towards the person who pulled the trigger. I am as clear today as I have ever been that the bringing of that gun onto the streets involved a number of senior figures in the New IRA.

"Today’s confirmation is a significant step forward and opens up a new avenue of investigation for my team. We will be relentless in pursuing opportunities to bring to justice every person who was involved in the chain of events that led to the gunman indiscriminately firing four shots."

Detectives have combed through more than 100 videos of the night Lyra was shot, and have found the gun jammed twice as the gunman tried to fire.

The suspect then tried to eject the rounds from the gun, and it is hoped he touched the components of the weapon in his attempts to unblock it.

A detailed forensic examination is currently taking place.

The gun was also found with bullets and a bomb
The gun was also found with bullets and a bomb. Picture: PA
Lyra was a prominent journalist and activist in Northern Ireland
Lyra was a prominent journalist and activist in Northern Ireland. Picture: PA

DSI Murphy added: "I'm confident that I know the identity of the gunman, I'm confident that I know the identity of the New IRA that were on the ground that night.

"I'm confident at this stage that I can piece together the roles each of those individuals played.

"The work for me and my team arising now from the recovery of the gun is to establish the evidence that proves the story that I've been able to tell over the last 15 months."

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