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Lyra McKee killing accused 'escorted' gunman, court told

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Paul McIntyre is accused of killing journalist Lyra McKee

Paul McIntyre is accused of killing journalist Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee

Paul McIntyre is accused of killing journalist Lyra McKee

A man charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee allegedly escorted the gunman to the scene of the shooting and picked up his bullet casings, the High Court has heard.

Seventeen points of reference on clothing worn by Paul McIntrye (52) links him to the killing carried out amid rioting in Londonderry last year, it was claimed.

Details emerged as the Public Prosecution Service mounted an appeal against McIntyre being granted bail.

Ms McKee (29) was shot as she observed street disorder in the city's Creggan area on April 18.

Police had come under attack by stones, petrol bombs and other missiles, while vehicles were also hijacked during the unrest said to have been orchestrated by members of the New IRA.

McIntrye, with an address at Kinnego Park in Derry, was initially charged with rioting, petrol bomb offences and the arson of a tipper truck.

But last month he was further charged with the journalist's murder, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, and belonging to a proscribed organisation.

Challenging a magistrates court decision to grant bail, Crown lawyer Robin Steer claimed McIntyre can be identified by clothing on mobile phone and television footage on the night of the shooting.

Counsel submitted that the accused is seen throwing and lighting petrol bombs, and emerging from the truck which was then set on fire. Later in the footage an unidentified gunman emerges, with McIntyre allegedly identified escorting him to the area where the shooting occurred.

Mr Steer said: "The gunman fires a number of shots, and the prosecution say this applicant is crouching down directly behind him, picking up four cartridge cases which have been ejected from the gun."

Referring to a report produced by a forensic company as part of the investigation, he told the court it has "identified 17 points of reference in his (McIntyre's) clothing".

The court was told 16 PSNI officers pointed out the accused at an earlier stage in the evening, when he was unmasked but wearing the same clothing.

During the hearing details emerged of an alleged conversation in which he was challenged about dissident republican political party Saoradh the day after Ms McKee's death.

According to a statement provided as part of the case, McIntyre replied: "It wasn't me, it was one of member's sons."

Mr Steer claimed this was a reference to the gunman.

Opposing bail, the barrister contended that McIntyre was part of a joint venture in the killing.

"The prosecution say this person is a member of a terrorist organisation, he's a member of the New IRA," he said.

Concerns were raised about the potential risk of interference with witnesses.

Mrs Justice Keegan was told graffiti has appeared in the Creggan warning that "any RUC touts will be executed".

Defence counsel Mark Mulholland QC insisted, however, that McIntyre must be released.

Mr Mulholland argued that no prima facie case has been established on the charge of murder, adding that his client had already secured High Court bail on the other alleged offences.

Mr Mulholland also challenged the admissibility of the forensic report, stressing that another court case has already ruled that a similar comparative analysis of clothing cannot be treated as expert evidence.

The appeal hearing at the High Court continues.

Belfast Telegraph