Belfast Telegraph

Lyra McKee's family 'living a nightmare' since journalist's murder, says sister

Lyra McKee
Lyra McKee

The sister of Lyra McKee has said her family's grief over her murder is like a living nightmare.

Ms McKee was shot dead by a New IRA gunman during rioting in the Creggan estate in Londonderry on April 18.

Nichola Corner told the BBC Radio Foyle: "It's like living in a nightmare that you just can't wake up from. Horrific, to say the least."

Mrs Corner said the family feel no closer to knowing who killed the 29-year-old north Belfast woman.

She said on the night of the murder, the family initially believed her injuries were not life-threatening.

"I got a phone call to say that Lyra had been injured, hit in the head, and police had taken her to hospital," she said.

"I actually thought she'd maybe been hit by a bottle, a brick or some kind of object of that nature."

Nichola McKee Corner, sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee

Mrs Corner phoned Lyra's mobile, expecting her sister to answer.

"I said: 'Are you alright wee love? Have you been seen by the doctor yet?'

"[I was] expecting it to be her, but obviously it wasn't her."

"That's when I was told that she was very seriously injured and the emergency personnel were working on her at the hospital and I couldn't understand why."

In a later phone call, Mrs Corner was informed her sister had been shot.

"You can imagine the devastation of hearing that news, that she had been shot in the head," she said.

"My husband had to pull over because I was screaming and couldn't breathe."

While telling her mother and other family members about the shooting, Mrs Corner then received another call from a PSNI constable, who said officers would collect the family to bring them to Altnagelvin Hospital. The officer told her Lyra had died.

"I was actually still in my street. Mummy was still in the car. My whole soul just left."

Nichola Corner, sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee

Mrs Corner said that when she saw Lyra's body it didn't register with her that she was dead.

"She looked just like she was sleeping," Mrs Corner said.

Mrs Corner said her family has found media coverage of the murder difficult to deal with at times.

"My mummy does feel that people have been treating her daughter as public property and she wants to ask people to stop doing that, she wants to reclaim her daughter," she said.

So far no one has been charged with Ms McKee's murder.

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