Lyra McKee murder: Anonymity offer to witnesses in court

Lyra McKee Image copyright AFP/GETTY
Image caption Lyra McKee was observing rioting in Londonderry's Creggan estate when she was shot

Witnesses to the murder of journalist Lyra McKee could be offered anonymity if they are called to give evidence in court, police have said.

Ms McKee, 29, was shot dead while observing a riot in Londonderry on 18 April.

A dissident republican group, the New IRA, has said its members killed her.

Police said a decision to offer anonymity follows discussions with the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

Police have appealed for "witnesses of the murder and the activities of the gunman" to come forward.

In the days following the shooting, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the PPS discussed what measures could be available to protect witnesses fearful of giving evidence at trial.

Maximum protection

A PSNI spokesperson said: "We need your help and we understand that for some, fear and intimidation feel very real.

"After liaison with the Public Prosecution Service we can confirm that, for the purpose of this investigation, anonymity will be provided to witnesses of the murder and the activities of the gunman.

"Witnesses will be referred to as Witness A, B, C etc and your identity will be revealed only to the Public Prosecution Service.

"As a witness you may not be required to give evidence in court but if you are, we will request the maximum protection.

"This can include options such as anonymity, giving evidence by video link, from behind screens and with voice distortion.

"We have no intention of placing witnesses at risk."

The PSNI further appealed for "first hand evidence or camera footage to identify and bring the gunman and others who were involved in Lyra's murder to justice."

Within four days of Ms McKee's murder more than 140 people had contacted police about the shooting.

Image caption Crowds gathered in Guildhall Square to remember Lyra McKee

Meanwhile, hundreds of people took part in an event in Derry on Wednesday night to remember Ms McKee.

Ms McKee's partner Sara Canning and a number of the journalist's friends were among the crowd in Guildhall Square for the Sing for Peace event.

Organisers said they wanted to mark the her legacy and send out a message about the importance of peace.

The event encouraged members of the public to join local musicians, choirs and singers to join together in song.

It opened with a minute's silence before a rendition of Amazing Grace.

More on this story