Six arrested in connection with murder of queer journalist Lyra McKee in Northern Ireland

Girlfriend of Lyra McKee on 'bittersweet' same-sex marriage milestone

Almost three years after the journalist Lyra McKee was murdered, police in Derry have arrested six men under the Terrorism Act.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland first announced that five men, aged 20, 41 and 54, and two aged 21, had been apprehended in the Derry area on Tuesday (15 March) in connection with the killing.

Hours later, police confirmed a sixth suspect had been arrested, a 26-year-old man.

McKee’s had been covering a night of violent unrest that ripped through Creggan, Derry, on 18 April, 2019, when she was killed by a gunman apparently aiming at police.

Her final tweet read: “Derry Tonight. Absolute madness.”

The senseless act of violence was condemned across the political divide, and her funeral became a striking display of unity with attendees including Theresa May and Leo Varadkar, then prime minister and taoiseach respectively, as well as Irish president Michael D Higgins.

In the days following her death, the republican paramilitary group the New IRA took responsibility in a statement to The Irish Times.

Three men have previously been charged with McKee’s killing and another five charged in connection with rioting among other offences such as possession of gasoline bombs, arson and firearms.

The police considers her death a terrorist incident.

A painted mural featuring murdered journalist Lyra McKee

A painted mural featuring murdered journalist Lyra McKee (PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Before her death, Lyra McKee was an above-the-fray reporter and was once named one of Forbes magazine’s “30 under 30 in media”. Before her death, she had recently signed a two-book deal with publisher Faber & Faber, who called her a “rising star of journalism”.

On what would have been her 30th birthday in March 2020, her partner Sara Canning reflected on her loss.

“In another life, Lyra and I have not long returned from our trek to Everest base camp and we’re getting geared up for her 30th birthday tomorrow,” Canning tweeted.

“In that life, The Lost Boys [her planned book on the Troubles] is finished, we’re engaged, and happy. Occasionally it’s nice to believe in parallel universes.”