Belfast Telegraph

Claim police raided 'wrong house' on night Lyra McKee was killed

Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 18, 2019. Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 18, 2019. Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Armed police in Creggan, Londonderry after shots were fired and petrol bombs were thrown at police. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Petrol bombs are thrown at police in Creggan, Londonderry. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A car burns in Creggan after petrol bombs were thrown at police
A burning car in Creggan, Londonderry after petrol bombs were thrown at police. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire

A Londonderry woman has claimed her home was wrongly targeted by police on the night Lyra McKee was killed.

Anne McGowan, from the Creggan area of the city said police raided her home despite her having no ties to dissident republicans.

Police were carrying out raids in the Creggan area of Derry on the night of April 18.

The raids were preemptive ahead of a planned Easter parade by dissident republican group Saoradh.

Ms McGowan said that her home was searched from 9pm until midnight and that police found nothing.

More than a dozen officers entered her home and "searched everything".

Ms McGowan claims she has no idea why her home was targeted and suggested that false information may have been provided to lure police to the area.

"I honestly don't know. I have been asked that so many times," she told the BBC.

"It is not worth going out the door at times, because people are asking you and looking at you, like you are telling lies, that you know something and are not saying it and it's not like that at all.

"I am not involved in anything. I don't go anywhere. I keep myself to myself, it is shameful to be accused of something you did not do."

Lyra McKee was shot and killed in April (Kevin Cooper/Amnesty/PA)
Lyra McKee was shot and killed in April (Kevin Cooper/Amnesty/PA)

Ms McGowan said that her reputation had suffered locally as a result of the searches.

"They looked through different things. They pulled out everything, searched everything," she said.

"My daughter's laptop, and her old laptop. They did not take that. They did not take my phone.

"They did not even look at my phone. They did not take a thing."

The police warrant for the search said police could seize CCTV, media storage devices, mobile phones, sim cards and "articles likely to be of use to terrorists" but nothing was take from the house.

The PSNI defended their decision to carry out the search, saying that the situation was assessed before a warrant was granted.

"Before we carry out searches, we will carefully assess information available to us and apply for a search warrant to be granted," Crime Operations Assistant Chief Constable, Barbara Gray said.

"The impact that police presence has in an area will always be balanced against the purpose of the search and wider community safety."

Speaking following Ms McKee's murder Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said police had information of planned attacks in the city over the Easter weekend and had carried out searches for munitions and firearms.

People Before Profit Councillor Eamonn McCann questioned police's timing in carrying out the raids.

"We have to underline that no matter what the PSNI did, no matter what anybody did, it does not excuse what Saoradh and their associates did to Lyra McKee," the veteran campaigner said.

"But the question has been asked a thousand times in Derry since, and I ask it now, why were the police raiding a house in the Creggan at that time of the night?

"Why not at six o'clock in the morning?

"It is common sense that there is going to be some kind of a riot, when the police went in. They must have known that.

"I think the PSNI should answer, so that we have a full picture of what happened on the night that Lyra McKee was so cruelly killed."

Following the searches a riot broke out in the area during which 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee was killed.

The New IRA have accepted responsibility for her murder, saying it was an accident and that the gunman had intended to target police.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph