Four arrested over murder of queer journalist Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland

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Four men have been arrested in connection with the murder of the queer journalist Lyra McKee.

McKee was murdered in Derry, Northern Ireland, on 18 April, 2019 after she sustained a gunshot wound to the head while reporting on riots that had broken out in the city.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) announced on Wednesday morning (15 September) that it had arrested four men aged 19, 20, 21 and 33 as part of a two-year investigation into Lyra McKee’s murder.

All four men were apprehended in Derry on Wednesday morning under the Terrorism Act. They were taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Musgrave Police Station where they will be interviewed by detectives.

“These arrests are the culmination of a detailed two-year investigation into Lyra’s murder and the events which preceded it,” detective superintendent Jason Murphy said in a statement.

“The local community have supported the Police Service of Northern Ireland throughout the course of this protracted investigation and I wish to thank them for their continued support and patience whilst this phase of the investigation is ongoing.”

Lyra McKee’s murder sent shockwaves through Northern Irish society

Before her death, Lyra McKee – who was just 29 years old at the time of her death – had become well known in media circles for her impassioned approach to her work. She had already been named as one of Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30 in media” for her dedication to investigative journalism.

But her life was tragically cut short on 18 April when she was hit by a bullet at the scene of riots in Derry. McKee had only recently moved to the city, having grown up in Belfast.

In 2014, McKee garnered international media attention when she published a blog post titled “Letter to my 14-year-old self”, which saw her reflect on the challenges she faced growing up gay in Belfast.

In her work, Lyra McKee dealt extensively with the painful legacy of The Troubles. At the time of her death, she was writing a book titled The Lost Boys, which focused on the disappearance of two boys in Belfast in 1974.

Her death in April 2019 sent shockwaves through Northern Irish society, and there was an outpouring of grief from LGBT+ activists who had admired her work.

The New IRA, a dissident republican group, claimed responsibility for McKee’s death in the days after her murder.

In the two years since her death, McKee’s loved ones have repeatedly pushed for her killers to be brought to justice. Her family launched the Justice4Lyra campaign earlier this year, which encouraged anyone with information that could lead to a conviction to come forward.