Murder trial shown footage of shot being fired which killed Lyra McKee

Footage from the final moments of Lyra McKee’s life has been shown at the trial of three men accused of murdering the journalist.

Police video of a gunman firing a handgun, including the shot which killed Ms McKee, was played during the trial at Belfast Crown Court on Friday.

Ms McKee, 29, died after being struck in the head by a bullet as she stood close to police vehicles while observing rioting in the Creggan area of Londonderry on the night of April 18 2019.

Lyra Mckee death court case
Jordan Devine arrives at Laganside Court, Belfast, where he and two other men have been charged with the murder of Belfast journalist Lyra McKee (Liam McBurney/PA)

The New IRA claimed responsibility for the author’s murder.

Peter Cavanagh, 35, of Mary Street, Derry; Jordan Gareth Devine, 23, of Bishop Street, Derry; and Paul McIntyre, 56, of Kells Walk, Derry, are charged with murder.

The prosecution has said it is clear none of the three fired the shot which killed Ms McKee, but were engaged in a “joint enterprise” to encourage and assist the gunman.

The three also face a number of other charges, including riotous assembly, possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent, as well as possession of, and throwing of, petrol bombs.

McIntyre is additionally charged with membership of a proscribed organisation.

Violence had flared in Derry on the evening Ms McKee was killed after police entered the Creggan area to conduct searches.

The no-jury trial was shown video footage from a PSNI evidence-gathering vehicle in Fanad Drive after police had been attacked with petrol bombs.

Prosecuting barrister David McDowell told the court that Ms McKee can be seen watching the disorder in the footage.

He said: “Just before 23.03 hours, cheering can be heard which causes the camera to pan back to the corner of the crossroads.

“The first shot is fired five seconds later.”

Lyra Mckee death court case
Lyra McKee’s sister, Nichola Corner, and her husband, John Corner, arrive at Laganside Court (Liam McBurney/PA)

He added: “That first shot prompts the police evidence gathering camera to pan in on a gunman on the corner from where the attack on police had been carried out.

“He can then be seen firing a second shot from a handgun.”

Mr McDowell said there then appeared to be three misfires.

He added: “He then succeeds in firing two further shots.

“It is only after the fourth shot, some 20 seconds after the first, that screaming can be heard indicating that Ms McKee has been struck by a bullet.

“This tends to indicate she was struck by one of the last two rounds, most likely the final shot.”

Mr McDowell added: “The driver of the evidence gathering vehicle reports that at around 23.00 hours he saw the crowd turn their attention in the direction of the shots.

“He then saw a gunman appear at the junction and fire at least four shots towards the police vehicles.

“He saw that a woman who had been standing to the side of one of the police Land Rovers had fallen to the ground and he heard another woman screaming for help.

“Assistance came from police and members of the public.”

Lyra Mckee death court case
Paul McIntyre arrives at Laganside Court, Belfast, where he and two other men have been charged with the murder of Belfast journalist Lyra McKee (Liam McBurney/PA)

The barrister told the court that officers in Land Rovers had reported hearing bullets strike their vehicles.

The court was then played footage from a mobile phone which had been seized by police.

Mr McDowell said this showed, in the moments before the shooting, four masked men walk to the scene, one carrying a handgun.

He said: “A few seconds later police send up a flare when it is realised that Ms McKee has been injured.

“She was taken to hospital in one of the police Land Rovers but death was confirmed just after her arrival.”

The barrister said other mobile phone footage showed two masked men, who the prosecution claim are Devine and McIntyre, picking up items from the ground in the aftermath of the shots being fired.

He said: “On subsequent examination of the scene four spent (bullet) cases were recovered.

“In other words, what those two men were picking up were not spent cartridge cases.

“The inference can therefore be drawn that the items being picked up by the men were live rounds of ammunition, ejected from the weapon after the misfires.”

He said another masked men, who the prosecution claim to be Cavanagh, was seen beside the gunman as the shots were being fired and then walking off in the same direction.

Lyra Mckee death court case
Peter Gearoid Cavanagh arrives at Laganside Court, Belfast, where he is on trial over the murder of Lyra McKee (Liam McBurney/PA)

Mr McDowell said: “It is submitted that the actions of McIntyre, Devine and Cavanagh are demonstrative of their involvement in a joint enterprise to possess and fire the weapon with the requisite intent for murder.

“That is, they offer intentional encouragement or assistance to the possession and use of the weapon with that intent.”

He added: “It is apparent that none of the three fired the gun, but instead that they intentionally encouraged or assisted the gunman to fire the gun with the requisite intent.”

Seven other men are on trial on a number of charges, including rioting and throwing petrol bombs.

They are: Joseph Patrick Barr, 36, of Sandringham Drive, Derry; Jude Forest Coffey, 26, of Gartan Square, Derry; William Patrick Elliott, 57, of Ballymagowan Gardens, Derry; Joseph Anthony Campbell, 23, of Gosheden Cottages, Derry; Patrick Anthony Gallagher, 32, of John Field Place, Derry; Christopher Joseph Gillen, 43, of Balbane Pass, Derry; and Kieran George McCool, 55, of Ballymagowan Gardens, Derry.

Earlier on Friday, the court heard that an MTV crew filming the riot earlier in the evening were told the disorder had been “set up” for the camera.

TV presenter Reggie Yates and the MTV crew were in Derry filming a documentary on republicans opposed to the Northern Ireland peace process on the day of the shooting.

They were filming in the period leading up to traditional republican commemorations in the city to mark the 1916 Easter Rising against British rule in Dublin.

In one clip played in court a woman approaches the MTV cameraman and tells him that the disorder had been set up for the camera.

Mr Yates then decided to withdraw his camera crew from the area.

Lyra Mckee death court case
Lyra McKee’s sisters, Joan Hunter (left) and Mary Crossan, arrive at Laganside Court, Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

He is heard in the footage saying: “We have seen a lot and you could argue that we’ve seen enough.

“If people are saying we are inciting it maybe we should pull it down… I think it is time to call it a night.”

Several members of Ms McKee’s family attended the court on Friday.

The trial will resume on Tuesday.