Lyra McKee: Who was she and why are people talking about her?

Last updated at 13:16

Tributes have been paid to a journalist who was killed during a riot in Northern Ireland.

Lyra McKee was shot while she was reporting in Londonderry on Thursday 18 April.

Her death has had a big impact, not just in the UK, but around the world.

Here's why.

Who was Lyra McKee?

Lyra McKee was 29 years old and a reporter, writer and campaigner.

Friends and colleagues have described her as a "rising star" in the world of journalism - she was named Sky News young journalist of the year in 2006.


Lyra was writing her first book which was due to be published in 2020.

She has also been described as "a hero to many in the LGBT community" - she wrote a piece called "Letter To My 14-year-old Self", in which she talked about facing challenging times at school and the moment she came out as gay to her mother.

John O'Doherty, the director of the Rainbow Project, added: "We have been reading about the huge impact Lyra had on so many within Northern Ireland's LGBT community, including supporting people in coming out and using her own coming out story to empower others to live as their most authentic selves."

What happened?

Lyra McKee
Lyra McKee was shot dead during violence in Londonderry

Lyra was shot whilst covering a riot on the Creggan estate in Derry/Londonderry.

Police have described it as a "terrorist" incident. A group called the New IRA has taken responsibility for the killing, according to the Irish News.

Many people have condemned the attack.

Police said the public response to the killing had been "massive" across all the communities in Northern Ireland.

A tweetTwitter/@10DowningStreet

UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has described what happened as "shocking and truly senseless".

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland posted on Twitter: "People North and South are mourning the death of a brave campaigner and journalist".

A 57-year-old woman has been arrested in connection with Lyra's death. She was arrested under the Terrorism Act.

Two men aged 18 and 19 were arrested earlier in the police investigation and later released without charge.

Why has there been a big reaction to Lyra's death?

Lyra's death has shocked a lot of people.

A message of condolence on the Free Derry mural in LondonderryPA

It's even more significant because of when she was killed - the day before Good Friday.

21 years ago on that day, the Good Friday Agreement was signed in Northern Ireland.

The aim of the peace deal was to help bring to an end a period of conflict known as The Troubles.

Police in Derry/LondonderryPA
This photo shows police fighting with rioters in the area of Derry/Londonderry during The Troubles in the 1960s

Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Stephen Martin, said:

"Lyra's murder has shocked not just people across this city, but people around the world and there has been a global wave of shock and sympathy from her colleagues in journalism, politicians, church and community leaders."

Her funeral will be held in Belfast on Wednesday 24 April.

Her partner, Sara Canning, says the service will be a "celebration of her life" and people have been encouraged to wear Harry Potter or Marvel themed t-shirts.

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