Man charged with Lyra McKee murder accused of picking up casings, court told

A man charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee is accused of picking up casings from the bullets used to kill her, a court heard.

There were scuffles outside Londonderry Magistrates’ Court between police and supporters of Paul McIntyre, who was remanded in custody following Thursday’s hearing.

Ms McKee, 29, was shot dead by dissident republicans while observing a riot in Londonderry in April last year.

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McIntyre raises his arms towards cheering supporters outside the court (Brian Lawless/PA)

During a 50-minute hearing, McIntyre’s lawyer Derwin Harvey said: “The allegation against Mr McIntyre is that Mr McIntyre is at this riot and a male shoots the gun and that Mr McIntyre, after the gun was shot, picks up the cases.”

Ms McKee was standing near a police vehicle when she was hit by a bullet fired by a masked gunman towards officers.

Before the hearing, Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said “the quest for the evidence to bring the gunman to justice remains active and ongoing”.

Supporters of 52-year-old McIntyre held placards saying he is a “political hostage” and a “British scapegoat” as they scuffled with up to 40 police officers when they refused to move from the entrance to the court.

There were loud cheers as McIntyre was brought out of a Range Rover and taken inside.

McIntyre is also charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and belonging to or professing to be a member of a proscribed organisation.

His address was given in court as Kinnego Park, Londonderry.

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Ms McKee’s partner Sara Canning arrives at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court for the hearing (Brian Lawless/PA)

The court heard a lengthy defence submission applying for bail, but the judge adjourned the hearing until he receives further information from the prosecution about the evidence linking McIntyre to the charges.

Mr Harvey said the case rests on a “snapshot” of low-quality mobile phone footage which the prosecution claims shows a man wearing clothing matching what his client was wearing earlier in the day.

McIntyre will next appear in court on February 27.

The New IRA said it carried out the killing of Ms McKee.

Ms McKee was living in Londonderry with her partner Sara Canning, who was in court for the hearing.

Ms McKee’s sister Nichola Corner was among several people in the public gallery wearing T-shirts emblazoned with her picture.

The journalist was a gay rights activist and an articulate advocate of a new and more tolerant Northern Ireland, having been part of the generation which reached adulthood during peace time.

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Journalist Lyra McKee was killed while observing a riot last April (Chiho Tang/Oranga Creative/PA)

Her funeral was attended by then prime minister Theresa May, Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Irish President Michael D Higgins at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

Catholic priest Fr Martin Magill received a standing ovation when he asked why it took her death to unite politicians.

Days later, the British and Irish governments announced a new talks process aimed at restoring devolution.

Powersharing was resurrected last month and the first same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland took place this week.

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