Northern Ireland

Lyra McKee murder: Two men released without charge

A message of condolence on the Free Derry mural in Londonderry Image copyright PA
Image caption A message of condolence was added to the mural at Free Derry corner in the city

Two men arrested in connection with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee have been released without charge.

Ms McKee, 29, died after she was struck by a bullet as she observed rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate on Thursday night.

The pair, aged 18 and 19, had been held under the Terrorism Act.

It was also confirmed on Sunday that Ms McKee's funeral will held at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast on Wednesday.

Her partner Sara Canning said the service would be a "celebration of her life".

It is understood the funeral service will be attended by political and faith leaders from across Northern Ireland.

Writing on Facebook, Ms Canning called on attendees to wear Harry Potter and Marvel related items.

'Positive support'

Speaking on Saturday, PSNI Det Supt Jason Murphy said police had received "positive support from the community" but needed to "convert this support into tangible evidence".

"We will continue to work positively and sensitively with the local community to achieve this," he said.

Det Supt Murphy appealed specifically to people who were in Fanad Drive and Central Drive on Thursday night, the area where Ms McKee was fatally wounded, to come forward with footage of the incident.

"Please come and speak with my detectives and provide us with your mobile phone footage," he said.

"We do not need to hold on to your phone, we have necessary equipment that will allow us to download the footage quickly."

'Liberated'

Meanwhile, the Catholic bishop of Derry said the community in the nationalist area where Lyra McKee was shot dead needs to be "liberated" from dissident republicans.

The words "not in our name - RIP Lyra" have been added to the famous Free Derry mural in the city's Bogside area.

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Media captionJournalist Lyra McKee, 29, was shot during rioting in Londonderry

Police have blamed dissident republicans for the murder, which happened after violence broke out as officers were carrying out searches for weapons and ammunition.

Intelligence had led them to suspect that there could be attacks on police over the Easter period.

'Disgusted by what happened'

Ms McKee was standing near a police 4x4 vehicle when she was shot after a masked gunman fired towards police and onlookers.

A statement issued by the hard-left republican political party Saoradh on Friday sought to justify the use of violence on Thursday night.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Floral tributes to Lyra McKee have been left in the Creggan estate where she was shot

Saoradh, which translates as liberation in Irish, has the support of the dissident republican group the New IRA.

Bishop Donal McKeown said the "small" group of dissident republicans in Derry is a "danger to all of us".

He told the BBC's Sunday Sequence that people in the Creggan estate were "disgusted at what happened".

"The one liberation they require in that community is liberation from Saoradh," he said.

"We don't want to be laboured with a reputation that comes from a small group that represents a small number of people but is actually a danger to all of us."

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Media captionPSNI released CCTV footage after Lyra McKee's murder

Ms McKee's killing came 21 years after the Good Friday peace agreement was signed in Northern Ireland.

The 1998 peace deal marked the end in the region of decades of violent conflict - known as the Troubles - involving republicans and loyalists during which about 3,600 people are estimated to have died.

The Good Friday Agreement was the result of intense negotiations involving the UK and Irish governments and Northern Ireland's political parties.

Tributes have been paid to Ms McKee from leading figures in the worlds of journalism, politics and beyond.

Vigils have been held across Northern Ireland and people have paid tributes to her by signing books of condolence.

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