Belfast Telegraph

Lyra McKee's partner left feeling 'very raw' after Saoradh stunt, court told

Murdered journalist Lyra McKee with her partner Sara Canning
Murdered journalist Lyra McKee with her partner Sara Canning
The Saoradh AK-47 office display in Derry

By George Jackson

The partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee was hurt by a poster display in Saoradh's Derry offices which showed an AK-47, a police officer told a court yesterday.

The officer made the disclosure at Derry Magistrates' Court when she opposed a bail variation application by one of three men who have been charged in connection with rioting which took place on the night the journalist was killed.

The applicant, Paul McIntyre (52), is on bail charged with riotous assembly, making and possessing a petrol bomb and the arson of a tipper truck.

He denies committing the offences on the night Ms McKee sustained a fatal gunshot wound to her head.

Part of the High Court bail conditions imposed included a ban on him entering the Creggan area.

McIntyre's family home in the estate is at Ballymagowan Park, and he asked that he be allowed to return to his home instead of having to continue residing at his current bail address several miles away.

The landlord who owns the bail address has given the applicant a notice to quit as he needs the property for his son, who is returning home from Australia on December 16.

The officer told District Judge Barney McElholm the landlord said he had not been paid any rent for his property.

Objecting to the bail variation application, the officer said McIntyre's home address was within an exclusion zone imposed by the High Court.

She said she had spoken to Lyra's partner Sara Canning and was told by her that she was "very raw" at the paramilitary display in the Saoradh office.

The officer said if the variation was granted, she believed the applicant would re-offend and engage in witness intimidation.

"The police believe he is heavily involved in and associated with Saoradh," she said.

"We are concerned that we have witness statements from people who live in the area he is applying to live in.

"We feel the temptation would strongly exist for witness intimidation by his presence there."

Cross-examined by the applicant's barrister Eoghan Devlin, the officer confirmed McIntyre had no previous history for witness intimidation.

She also confirmed that CCTV footage from the scene of the killing had been sent to forensics experts in London for an enhancement procedure. That process is expected to be completed within a few weeks.

The officer said two witnesses had so far provided a description of the applicant, with both estimating his height at between5ft 8in and 5ft 10in.

Mr Devlin said the applicant's height was 5ft 2in.

The judge refused the bail variation application from Mr McIntyre.

He said the matter could go back to the High Court.

"I feel very strongly there would be a fear of witness intimidation and of re-offending if he goes back into the Creggan", Mr McElholm said.

The case was adjourned until January 9.

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