Lyra McKee: Two Londonderry men charged with rioting

Christopher Gillen and Paul McIntyre Image copyright PA
Image caption Christopher Gillen (left) and Paul McIntyre were refused bail

Two Londonderry men have appeared in court charged with rioting in the city on the night last month that writer Lyra McKee was murdered.

Christopher Gillen, 38, of Balbane Pass and Paul McIntyre, 51, of Ballymagowan Park, were remanded in custody.

The city's magistrates' court was told evidence against them has been obtained from mobile phone footage and a documentary filmed by MTV.

Police believe the two men are members of the New IRA, the court heard.

Mr Gillen, who is unemployed, is charged with rioting, petrol bomb offences and the hijacking and arson of a tipper truck.

Mr McIntyre, who works as a taxi driver, is accused of rioting, petrol bomb offences and the arson of a hijacked vehicle.

Image copyright Francesco Cuoccio/IJF
Image caption Lyra McKee was observing rioting in Derry when she was shot dead

A police officer told the court that officers had gone into Derry's Creggan estate on 18 April to conduct searches but that was followed by a "sustained attack" by people who were wearing masks.

Four vehicles were hijacked, he added.

Police believe the two men can be connected to the rioting by clothing shown on various sources of video footage, including the MTV material, which was described by the officer as "excellent".

The prosecution lawyer said they believed that people in the area were using the filming of the MTV documentary, fronted by Reggie Yates, for their own purposes as "a propaganda operation".

A solicitor representing Mr McIntyre described the case against him as "extremely weak".

He said his client was willing to live outside the city and accept a number of conditions if he was granted bail.

The police officer told Mr Gillen's solicitor that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) believes both men were members of the New IRA.

When the solicitor said the police had "no evidence" to support that belief, the officer replied: "That's correct."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Police were searching for weapons and ammunition when violence started on 18 April

During his deliberations about bail applications for both men, the judge referred to what he described as "disgraceful graffiti" that appeared in the Creggan estate recently, warning people not to give information to the police.

Ms McKee, 29, was shot while observing rioting in the Creggan area on 18 April.

There was disorder throughout the evening leading up to her death.

Violence broke out after raids were carried out by police, with detectives investigating dissident republican activity in the Mulroy Park and Galliagh areas.

The New IRA said its members carried out the murder.

Ms McKee's killing led to an outpouring of grief and calls for politicians in Northern Ireland to return to power sharing.

An 18-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy, who were arrested last week by detectives investigating Ms McKee's death, were released without charge.