Evidence to bring Lyra’s killers to justice is out there, says police chief

The evidence to bring those behind the killing of Lyra McKee to justice is out there, a police chief has said.

Police Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable George Hamilton was speaking following the funeral service for the 29-year-old journalist at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

He described Ms McKee as a “great person who worked hard to shine a light and recover truth”.

The coffin is carried from the funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)
The coffin is carried from the funeral service of murdered journalist Lyra McKee at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr Hamilton said that was in “complete contrast” with those who killed her.

“She worked hard with integrity and that’s in complete contrast to those people who came out of the shadows last Thursday, fired shots towards police lines, hitting Lyra and fatally injuring her,” he said.

“The outpouring of condemnation from the communities of Derry and the politicians all standing together in Creggan with that community last Friday was something I think was quite unique and quite different.”

He said that unity among politicians and communities “narrows the ground” that the perpetrators walk on, and urged more people to come forward to help get justice for Ms McKee.

The Order of Service for the funeral of Lyra McKee (Liam McBurney/PA)
The Order of Service for the funeral of Lyra McKee (Liam McBurney/PA)

“I do believe that the evidence to bring those responsible for Lyra’s murder to book is out there,” he said.

“We need people to have confidence in the police investigation, we understand that co-operating with the police and providing evidence can be difficult, people are scared, people are in fear. I want to assure people that we will work with them, we will be sensitive to their fears, to their concerns.

“We have already engaged with the Public Prosecution Service to make sure that people can have confidence and feel safe co-operating with the police investigation.”

He praised the unity of political parties speaking out against the killing of Ms McKee.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outside the cathedral following the funeral (Brian Lawless/PA)
Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley, Prime Minister Theresa May and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outside the cathedral following the funeral (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I hope as a citizen as well as a chief constable that that opportunity will not be lost,” he said.

“We just heard Father Magill talking about the responsibility on our political leaders to step up and take advantage of these tragic circumstances when the life of Lyra, at 29 years, was so horribly cut short.

“I hope our political leaders will do just that, I hope that people will continue to stand with police, to co-operate with police, we have over 140 people come forward and provide video footage and witness accounts.

“We need more of that, we believe that this murder is absolutely solvable, and we want to bring that degree of closure to the family.”

- Press Association

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