Two in court for murder of N. Irish journalist

McKee's death provoked a widespread outcry across Northern Ireland (AFP/Jess LOWE)
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Two men were given bail on Friday when they appeared in court charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee, who was killed while covering a riot in Northern Ireland.

A prosecuting lawyer told the court in Londonderry that Gearoid Cavanagh, 33, and Jordan Devine, 21, were with the gunman who fired the shot that killed the reporter.

McKee, 29, was shot in the head while standing near a police vehicle, as dissident pro-Ireland republicans clashed with officers in the city in April 2019.

The new IRA group took responsibility for her death and said she was "tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces".

McKee's death provoked a widespread outcry across Northern Ireland and led to calls for politicians to restore the province's then-suspended power-sharing government.

"The prosecution case is that the gunman was being escorted by Gearoid Cavanagh, who carries out a stewarding role as the gunman takes up position," the prosecutor said.

He alleged Devine "encourages" the gunman when the shots were fired in the clashes on the pro-Irish republican Creggan estate.

"He cheers, he throws a missile, he again raises his arm, and afterwards he assists in tidying up, appearing to lift items from the ground," he added.

Defence lawyers said the evidence was weak against their clients, who have also been charged with possession of a firearm and ammunition with intent to endanger life.

They are also accused of having and using petrol bombs, and arson, while Cavanagh is further charged with robbery.

The pair were among four local men arrested on Wednesday morning in Londonderry, which is known to republicans as Derry.

A third man, Joe Campbell, 20, was charged with rioting, possession of petrol bombs and throwing petrol bombs. The fourth, aged 19, was released pending further inquiries.

He was also given bail and the case was adjourned to October 7.

Investigators in February also charged a 52-year-old man with McKee's murder.

Police have also confirmed that a gun recovered during searches in Londonderry was the weapon that had been used to kill McKee.

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