Belfast Telegraph

Lyra McKee's sister in poignant plea to her killer

'I'll support the gunman if he hands himself in'

Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

The sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has made an impassioned plea to her killer to hand himself in to the police - and vowed to support him if he did.

Nichola Corner was addressing a crowd of hundreds gathered in Guildhall Square in Londonderry, where Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody sang at the end of a three day hike from Belfast in memory of Ms McKee.

Ms Corner said: "I speak directly to the person who killed my sister, I encourage you, whoever you are, to listen to me, not just with your ears but with your heart and your soul.

"It is my belief that when you went out on the 18th of April, you did not intend to turn yourself into a killer.

"Yet the events as they developed led to that becoming your reality.

"You are now a killer, you are now the person who killed Lyra McKee and you cannot take that back.

"I am making no assumptions and I don't claim to be able to think as you think.

"It is my belief, it is my truth but if my thinking is correct, then I would expect that the grief and the nightmarish existence that we have been living since the 18th of April is mirrored by your guilt of robbing the world of our talented, inspirational and loving young sister with her whole life ahead of her.

"Believe it or not, I want to help you.

"In the name of my sister, I offer to support you in the difficult task of coming forward and accepting responsibility for your actions.

"I know that isn't going to be easy, it certainly isn't going to be easy for me - but I am prepared to be there as you hand yourself in.

"I promise you I will meet you at any police station anywhere in this island to support you in taking the brave step of handing yourself in and allowing my sister the justice she deserves.

"It is my hope that you need relief from your guilt. I know it won't be easy and that is why I am reaching out to you because sometimes the right thing is the most difficult."

Snow Patrol‘s Gary Lightbody on stage at the Guildhall
Snow Patrol‘s Gary Lightbody on stage at the Guildhall
Snow Patrol‘s Gary Lightbody with Lyra’s partner Sara Canning
Hundreds gather at the Guildhall in Londonderry at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast in memory of Lyra McKee
Lyra McKee
Father Joe Gormley who performed the last rites to Lyra the night she died
Hundreds gather at the Guildhall in Londonderry at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast in memory of Lyra McKee

Ms Corner also thanked the 160 people from the Creggan area of Derry who have so far contacted the PSNI to give them information about the night that Ms McKee was shot by the New IRA.

The theme of Ms Corner's speech and of the walk organised by a group of Ms McKee's Belfast friends was "failure is not an option".

Among them was Seimi Mac Aindreasa, who said it was now up to the politicians to deliver on the promises of the Good Friday Agreement 21 years ago.

He said: "The walk was about difficult conversations and it took a lot of difficult conversations to set up the Good Friday Agreement before they sold it to us. They (politicians) had a lot of difficult conversations before they sold it to us as well, but they did and now they have to follow up on that.

"For us, the achievement is that Lyra's family realised what we were doing was coming from a good place.

"We are now handing it back to the politicians.

"They handed it to us 21 years ago and told them then, we agree with you, away you go and now again we are saying to the politicians, do it now."

Gary Lightbody joined the walkers for the final leg of the journey into Derry at the invitation of Ms McKee's family.

He said: "It was extraordinary to see the people who had walked the whole way from Belfast.

"The positivity of people gathering together so that people can be who they want to be, love who they want to love and live in peace and prosperity for all of our kids, our nieces and nephews because they are the future."

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