Murdered journalist Lyra McKee’s girlfriend says she understands why people haven’t come forward to help police find the 29-year-old’s killer
- Sara Canning accepts fear has prevented the community from speaking up
- She said she ‘understands’ the hold ‘these people have’ over the communities
- Ms McKee, 29, was shot dead in Londonderry’s Creggan estate in April
- Nine people have been arrested and released in connection with the killing
Lyra McKee was gunned down while she observed rioting in Londonderry’s Creggan estate
The girlfriend of murdered journalist Lyra McKee says she ‘understands’ why people are ‘afraid’ to come forward to police as they continue to hunt her killer.
Sara Canning said she accepts that fear has prevented some members of the community from speaking up in Northern Ireland after her partner was shot dead in April.
Ms McKee was gunned down while she observed rioting in Londonderry’s Creggan estate, and the New IRA said its members were responisble.
Police say an ‘intensive investigation’ is continuing into the murder, and nine people have been arrested and released in connection with the killing.
It came as it emerged in reports at the weekend that the main suspect in her murder has one into hiding, possibly in the Republic of Ireland.
Ms Canning told the BBC: ‘A lot of people have criticised why more people haven’t come forward, and I have to explain to them, you don’t understand the way of life in those communities.
‘You don’t understand the hold these people have over their communities.’
Lyra McKee’s partner Sara Canning (pictured attending the launch of Lyra’s book earlier this month) says she ‘understands’ why people are afraid to speak up to police
Lyra McKee (left) and her partner Sara Canning in a photograph posted to Facebook just days before she was shot dead
She added: ‘People can be afraid sometimes to speak up, and I understand that,’ she said.
So far two men have been charged with rioting in the city on the night that Ms McKee was murdered.
Ms Canning said she ‘wants the right person behind bars’ so is happy with the way the police are handling the investigation.
She told Radio Foyle: ‘We live in Northern Ireland, we have seen how many miscarriages of justice there have been, that’s not something I want.’
Ms Canning also spoke about the ‘guilt’ Lyra’s killer will have saying: ‘If that was a young person who murdered Lyra, then that is the rest of his life that he is tarred with that brush of being a murderer.
Ms Canning (pictured at Lyra’s funeral, left) said she ‘wants the right person behind bars’ and is happy with the way the police are handling the investigation. Pictured right: Lyra McKee
It is the rest of his life that he has to carry it. How do you rationalise that?
‘How do you look someone in the eye knowing you have killed someone belonging to them?
‘I can’t imagine being able to rationalise it or having the gall to walk around with your head held high knowing what you have done.’
Det Supt Jason Murphy said the inquiry into Ms McKee’s murder remained ‘an intensive investigation with excellent community support.’
He said: ‘The family of Lyra McKee are being regularly updated.
‘I recognise people living in Creggan may feel it’s difficult to come forward to speak to police.
‘I want to provide a personal reassurance that we are able to deal with these concerns sensitively,’ he said.
The PSNI had previously said it would ask the North’s Public Prosecution Service for additional measures to protect the identity of anyone giving evidence, including speaking from behind screens.
The police also said 140 people had come forward with images, footage and other details. Det Supt Murphy said he still wanted to hear from anyone who had any information and appealed to the public to contact his detectives by telephoning 101.