Belfast Telegraph

Lyra McKee partner Sara Canning speaks of 'horror' of partner's murder six months on

Journalist Lyra McKee was killed by dissident republicans in Londonderry in April as she observed a riot (Chiho Tang/Oranga Creative/PA)
Journalist Lyra McKee was killed by dissident republicans in Londonderry in April as she observed a riot (Chiho Tang/Oranga Creative/PA)

By Eimear McGovern

Sara Canning, the partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, has spoken of the "horror" and flashbacks she has endured in the six months since the brutal killing.

She said the couple should have been building a home, getting engaged and living their lives together. She said it should have been the happiest time of their lives.

"Instead it’s been six months of a horror, no director could properly convey, of missing her, of flashbacks to the worst experience anyone could go through," she said.

"The animal who shot my beautiful girlfriend is still walking the streets living his utterly pointless life whilst the most amazing person I have ever known is buried in Carnmoney Cemetery."

Ms McKee was shot while observing a riot in Londonderry on April 18. The New IRA admitted responsibility for her death but so far no one has been charged with the murder. Her death sparked a wave of calls for Northern Ireland's political parties to do away with their differences and return power sharing in Northern Ireland.

Lyra McKee was planning to propose to Ms Canning, a friend revealed in the days after her murder. She had planned to produce a ring she had picked on the day she was killed while on a holiday to New York. She had made friends put "Donegal in 2022" in their diaries for the occasion.

Sara said the gunman's future would be "forever tainted" by the "beautiful shining light" he took away from the world.

"He took away someone who was seeking justice for those whose voices were not being heard, someone who listened, in spite of past wrongs, to people who wanted to set things right," she said.

"Lyra’s life was filled with meaning, with truth seeking, wrong righting, with striving to be the best at whatever she did, at being brave and having a go even if it scared her."

 

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Lyra McKee and partner Sara Canning

Ms Canning said they were still waiting for justice for Lyra's murder, saying her killer wasn't "brave enough" to hand himself in.

"We still don’t have justice, the animal who shot my beautiful girlfriend is still walking the streets," she added.

Her comments come after Ms McKee's sister Nichola Corner appeared in a Northern Ireland Office campaign video calling for Stormont's return.

She had appeared at a Stormont rally to mark 1,000 days since the collapse of power sharing just days earlier.

In the video she said her family was "determined" to ensure "no other person is killed within Northern Ireland" and urged politicians to resurrect the Assembly and Executive.

It was later removed after an online backlash against the Government department accusing it of manipulating the family's grief.

Ms Corner said she was "devastated" by the reaction to the video saying her intention was in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland.

"I thought I was building on messages delivered previously, including the speech I gave on Sunday at the 1,000 days rally at Stormont," she wrote.

"I have no political affiliations with any group or party and do not wish my honest message to be tarnished by association with party politics."

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