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30 Sept 2022

Lyra McKee murder accused grant bail variation to go on holiday

Lyra McKee murder accused grant bail variation to go on holiday

The late Lyra McKee. Picture: Brendan Gallagher

A Derry man accused of the murder of Lyra McKee in the city over three years ago has been granted a variation to his bail conditions to allow him to go on holiday with his partner.

Peter Gérard Cavanagh, 34, of Elmwood Terrace, is charged with the murder of the 29-year-old journalist who was shot dead by the New IRA while observing rioting on Fanad Drive in the Creggan area on April 18, 2019. He faces a number of additional offences relating to rioting on the night in question.

At a sitting of Derry Magistrates Court this week, Cavanagh made application to vary his bail to allow him to go on a short break to Arranmore Island off the coast of Donegal with his partner.

Objecting to the variation being granted, a prosecution barrister said bail conditions had been imposed to allow police to 'monitor and manage' the risk.

She said tpolice believed Cavanagh was a member of Saoradh and was 'clearly associated with the New IRA.'

The court was told the defendant was seen outside the Saoradh offices in November 2021.

He was also observed at a white line protest in March this year and in June was seen talking to someone outside the Saoradh office.

Defence solicitor Derwin Harvey said the papers in the case had been forwarded and there were three strands to the case - identification, forensics and a diligence report.

He said the entirety of the evidence was in police hands by March 2020 but it was not until September last year that Cavanagh was charged.

The solicitor said if his client posed such a risk why the delay in charging him?

He added Cavanagh was 'anxious' to face the charges for what he described as 'this dreadful act' so he could clear his name.

The solicitor said Cavanagh had said he was no longer associated with Saoradh and he added that it was clear he would not 'announce it publicly unless it was the case.'

He said the variation was for a three night break.

District Judge Barney McElholm said “I don't think he can get up to much on Arranmore.”

He granted the variation but ordered Cavanagh to surrender his passport and put forward a cash surety. 

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