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Journalist Lyra McKee was due to finish book on IRA killings weeks after her death

Journalist Lyra Mckee had been due to put the finishing touches to a book about an IRA murder cold case just weeks after she was shot dead on the streets of Derry.

McKee spent five years investigating the deaths of Robert Bradford MP and caretaker Ken Campbell, who were killed when IRA members stormed a community centre in South Belfast in 1981 during The Troubles.

Her book, Angels With Blue Faces, is the culmination of interviews with Bradford’s friends and colleagues and “reveals how the MP’s killing might have been stopped by intelligence services”, publisher Excalibur Press said.

McKee had been due to approve final changes to the book, including its cover,  before its release this month.

Bradford, a unionist MP for South Belfast, is rumoured to have been about to expose details of who was involved in the Kincora Boys’ Home child sex abuse scandal when he was murdered.

McKee was killed while observing rioting in the Creggan area of Derry in April this year. The New IRA has claimed responsibility for her death and said they had been targeting police.

Tina Calder, owner of Excalibur Press, said she was “proud” to release McKee’s book, which is now available to pre-order before its official release at the end of this month.

“It is with great sadness but immense honour that we are now able to reveal the cover of Angels With Blue Faces,” Calder said.

“Just a short time before her death Lyra had approved her cover and sent the final changes for her book, she should have been holding it in her hand at the end of April.

“Lyra’s investigation into the death of Northern Ireland MP Robert Bradford was a passion project for her, for years it became her obsession as she followed lead after lead in the pursuit of the truth.

“We were absolutely delighted when Lyra agreed to entrust Excalibur Press with this book and were devastated to learn of her death just days before the book should have been going on pre-release and less than a month before she would have held it in her hand.”

As per Lyra’s wishes prior to her death, her own proceeds of the book will be donated to the organisation Paper Trail, a social enterprise which offers specialised and targeted legacy archive research to the legal profession.

Excalibur Press will donates its commission for the book to its not-for-profit arm The Merlin Project which aims to break down barriers into the journalism industry with events and workshops for young reporters.

Lyra’s sister Nichola McKee Corner said of the book: “Lyra put years into this project. It is so sad that she never got to hold the final copy of Angels With Blue Faces in her hand.”

Angels With Blue Faces, Excalibur Press, costs £9.99 to pre-order.

Picture: Excalibur Press

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