02 Oct 2022

Two men remanded in custody charged with disturbances on night Lyra McKee shot dead

Rioting in Derry's Creggan estate on the night journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead was "staged and premeditated," the city's Magistrate's Court has been told. The 29-years-old journalist (pictured) died after she was hit the head by one of a number of shots fired by a masked gunman during the trouble which broke out Fanad Drive on 18 April Last. Two men were today remanded in custody charged with a number of offences linked to the disturbances. Paul McIntyre (51), of Ballymagowan Park and Christopher Gillen (38), of Balbane Pass, both in the Creggan area, were charged with riotous assembly, possessing and throwing petrol bombs and the arson of a Ford Transit Tipper Truck. Both men refused to stand when asked to stand by a court clerk prior to the charges being put them. Gillen was further charged with hijacking the Tipper truck. Connecting both accused to the charges and opposing bail, a PSNI detective told the court police came under "sustained attack" from missiles and petrol bombs. The officer added that during the disturbances four vehicles were hijacked, three of which set on fire, and that shots were fired at police, one of which struck Ms McKee. The officer said police had gathered "extensive CCTV: including mobile phone footage. He added footage from MTV, who were making a documentary at the time, was also seized and on that there was footage taken in the Saoradh offices in Chamberlain Street earlier in the day. The officer said both Gillen and McIntyre were featured in that footage and during the rioting that night masked men wearing similar clothing could be seen heavily involved in the violence. He further told the court a bracelet allegedly worn by McIntyre in footage recorded in the Saoradh office was identified as that which by one of those involved in the rioting as were trainers and tracksuits. The officer also claimed that Gillen was identified alighting from the hijacked truck before it was burnt. He said that police believed the disorder was staged by the dissident republican group the New IRA and said there was a real fear of interference with the police investigation if the pair were released. Both were remanded in custody to appear on 30 May next. Meanwhile, two teenagers, age 15 and 18, who were also detained un terrorism legislation, have been released without charge.

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