Police have released new images from the night of journalist Lyra McKee’s murder with a reward of up to £10,000 on offer for anyone who comes forward with new information.
Freelancer McKee (pictured) was shot dead by a masked gunman on Thursday night last week as she observed rioting in the Creggan area of Derry. Terror group the New IRA has claimed responsibility for her death.
The Prime Minister and other political leaders attended her funeral in Belfast this week, with a vigil also held at St Bride’s Church on Fleet Street.
Daily Record political editor David Clegg dedicated his Journalist of the Year gong at last night’s Scottish Press Awards to his friend McKee, where others also paid tribute to the 29-year-old.
Images released by the Police Service of Northern Ireland today highlight three masked men, the shortest and stockiest of whom police believe killed Lyra by firing into the crowd.
Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy said: “I want to find the people who murdered Lyra and I believe the information that can help us bring those responsible to justice lies within the local community.
“Approximately 100 people were on the ground on the night Lyra was murdered – people saw the gunman and his associates.
“I think people within the community know who they are. I’m asking them to come forward and help us.”
Describing the footage, Murphy said he wants to identify the man at the front of a group of three who was carrying a crate of petrol bombs towards the assembled crowd.
He also wants to identify the other two men in the group of three, adding of the man furthest from the wall: “It’s my belief he is the gunman that fired indiscriminately into the crowd, placed the community and police officers at risk and took the life of Lyra.
“You can see he is wearing dark clothing and in other footage you can see this clothing in a different light. People know who he is.”
Crimestoppers yesterday announced it is offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information on McKee’s murder.
The charity said: “This murder has sent shockwaves through the local community and across Northern Ireland. Indeed it has attracted global condemnation.
“Ms McKee was merely doing her job as a freelance journalist. We know that this has affected all parts of the community and we urge anyone who has information about those who are responsible to come forward.”
The rioting in Creggan broke out in response to a police search operation aimed at disrupting dissident republicans. The suspected killer fired indiscriminately towards police and onlookers at the scene.
The New IRA bizarrely apologised to Mckee’s loved ones for her death, saying she had been stood beside “enemy forces”, meaning the police.
McKee’s funeral was held at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast on Wednesday, which saw political leaders from both republican and unionist parties unite to pay their respects. Her coffin was given a guard of honour by members of the National Union of Journalists, of which she was a member.
At last night’s Scottish Press Awards Clegg took home a hat-trick of awards.
He won Scoop of the Year for his revelations about sexual assault allegations against former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, revealing that the last time he had spoken to McKee was when she phoned him to congratulate him on the story.
He was also named Political Journalist of the Year, while his paper, the Reach-owned Daily Record, was named Newspaper of the Year.
It is understood Clegg told the award’s audience last night that “this has been a year of courageous women”.
Last week, following McKee’s death, he tweeted that he was “devastated” by the news, saying: “Her passion and love for journalism shone through everything she did. What an absolutely senseless tragedy.”
He later added: “She represented everything Northern Ireland should aspire to – progressive, big hearted, post-sectarian. What a terrible waste.”
Scottish Newspapers Society editors’ chairman Magnus Llewellin also paid tribute to McKee, describing her as an “outstanding young woman” whose murder was a “graphic illustration… of the risks real journalists take”.
In a speech at the awards ceremony in Glasgow last night, the Times’ Scotland editor Llewellin said: “As someone who worked across a range of print and digital titles, Lyra was a typical modern journalist.
“But she was also part of a tradition most of us here share and which goes back well before 1979 – and that is a tradition of knocking on doors and putting in those hard yards in pursuit of the truth.”
Picture: Family handout/PA Wire