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Lyra McKee murder accused Paul McIntyre 'must remain in custody', judge rules

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Paul McIntyre, accused of murdering journalist Lyra McKee, has been granted bail (Brian Lawless/PA)

Paul McIntyre, accused of murdering journalist Lyra McKee, has been granted bail (Brian Lawless/PA)

Paul McIntyre, accused of murdering journalist Lyra McKee, has been granted bail (Brian Lawless/PA)

A man charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee must remain in custody, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mrs Justice Keegan backed a prosecution appeal against a magistrate's decision to grant bail to Paul McIntyre over his alleged role in the killing amid rioting in Derry last year at a hearing on Friday.

She held that the risk of potential re-offending was enough to warrant keeping the 52-year-old in prison.

The judge said: "I have concluded that the factors outlined by the prosecution are relevant, sufficient and plausible reasons to outweigh the other factors and justify detention."

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.

Lyra McKee

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.

According to the prosecution he escorted the gunman to the scene of the shooting and picked up his bullet casings.

A Crown lawyer claimed McIntyre can be identified by clothing on mobile phone and television footage on the night Ms McKee was killed.

Two police officers were said to have recognised him as a masked figure at the rioting by his height, build and gait.

A forensic report prepared as part of the case also made 17 points of reference to clothes he was allegedly wearing.

In a further development, the court heard McIntyre was challenged about dissident republican political party Saoradh the day after Ms McKee's death.

It was claimed that he told an ex-partner: "It wasn't me, it was one of member's sons."

But defence counsel insisted the case against McIntrye was speculatively centred on 15 seconds of footage and failed to link him to any role in the killing.

He contended that no prima facie case has been established on the charge of murder, adding that McIntyre had already secured High Court bail on the other alleged offences.

In her ruling, Mrs Justice Keegan described graffiti which appeared in the Creggan warning that police informers will be killed as "contemptible".

However, her decision to deny bail centred on the potential for further offences.

No conditions were deemed sufficient to deal with the risk, "particularly given these matters and the issue of the threat to the State and the public at large".

Allowing the prosecution appeal, the judge concluded: "These charges have clearly changed the complexion of the case from the previously determined application before the High Court."

Belfast Telegraph