Belfast Telegraph

Lyra McKee's sister vows to support killer if he hands himself in

Nichola Corner, the sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, holding a copy of the cover of the Agreement at the end of her speech at the Guildhall in Derry. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Nichola Corner, the sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, holding a copy of the cover of the Agreement at the end of her speech at the Guildhall in Derry. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
A choir perform in front of hundreds of people at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the name of Lyra McKee, as friends of the murdered journalist are due to arrive in Londonderry today at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
A choir perform in front of hundreds of people at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the name of Lyra McKee, as friends of the murdered journalist are due to arrive in Londonderry today at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
A choir perform in front of hundreds of people at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the name of Lyra McKee, as friends of the murdered journalist are due to arrive in Londonderry today at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
People applaud during a speech at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the name of Lyra McKee, as friends of the murdered journalist are due to arrive in Londonderry today at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Londonderry priest Father Joe Gormley, who performed the last rites to Lyra McKee the night she died, at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, as friends of the murdered journalist are arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Lead singer of Snow Patrol Gary Lightbody performs on stage at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the name of Lyra McKee, as friends of the murdered journalist arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Lead singer of Snow Patrol Gary Lightbody performs on stage at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the name of Lyra McKee, as friends of the murdered journalist arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Nichola Corner, the sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, sings along to Snow Patrol with other family members and friends at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, as they arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Nichola Corner, the sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, addresses a crowd of people outside the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, as friends of the murdered journalist arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Lyra's Choir performing in the Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Relatives of the later Lyra McKee at the finish.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Participants making their way down Shipquay Street.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee The crowd at Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Four years-old Maille Devlin.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee The crowd at Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Lyra's partner Sara Canning.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Lyra McKee Choir performing on stage in the Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Walk organizers Susan Curran and Conor McCorry.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Walk organisers Brenda Gough.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee The crowd at Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Lyra McKee Choir performing on stage in the Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Katie Richardson performing on stage in the Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody performing on stage in Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. The new Mayor of Derry and Strabane Councillor Michaela Boyle.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Richard Moore, Children in Crossfire addresses the crowd.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. BBC presenter Stuart Baillie.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. The family of the late Lyra McKee.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Walkers make their way not Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Lyra McKee's sister Nicola Corner.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody performing on stage in Guildhall Square.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. The Harkin family from Donegal.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. The family of the late Lyra McKee.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 27th May 2019 - Photo by Lorcan Doherty / Press Eye. Lyra's Walk The finale of the Peace Walk from Belfast to Derry in memory of Lyra McKee. Walkers and supporters in Guildhall Square.
Nichola Corner, the sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, addresses a crowd of people outside the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, as friends of the murdered journalist arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Nichola Corner, the sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, as friends of the murdered journalist arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Londonderry priest Father Joe Gormley, who performed the last rights to Lyra McKee the night she died, at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, as friends of the murdered journalist are arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Lead singer of Snow Patrol, Gary Lightbody, about to perform on stage at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the name of Lyra McKee, as friends of the murdered journalist arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Sara Canning (centre), partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, as they arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Lead singer of Snow Patrol Gary Lightbody performs on stage at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the name of Lyra McKee, as friends of the murdered journalist arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Lead singer of Snow Patrol Gary Lightbody poses with Sara Canning, partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Nichola Corner, the sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, holding a copy of the cover of the The Agreement at the end of her speech at the Guildhall in Derry, Northern Ireland, as they arrive at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. See PA story ULSTER Walk. Picture date: Monday May 27, 2019. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Gary Lightbody and Richard Moore join today's Walk. Photo by Justin Kernoghan
A rally in memory of Lyra McKee at Londonderry's Guildhall Square. Photo by Justin Kernoghan
Friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee took part in a three-day peace walk from Belfast to Londonderry (Rebecca Black/PA)
Friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee (Rebecca Black/PA)
Lead singer of Snow Patrol Gary Lightbody poses with Sara Canning, partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast at the Guildhall in Derry. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has vowed to "support" her killer if he hands himself in to police.

Nichola Corner was speaking at a peace rally at Londonderry's Guildhall Square following the conclusion of the three day Lyra's Walk.

Mrs Corner said failure was not an option as she urged justice for her family and praised those who have given evidence to police.

She said she would come to any police station to meet whoever admitted to shooting the talented journalist dead and help him through the experience - saying she was speaking in Lyra's name.

It followed a performance from Gary Lightbody and tributes from ordinary people and friends opposed to violence.

Her sister held the 1998 Good Friday Agreement aloft as she urged politicians to do a deal to end the threat of bombs and bullets once and for all.

She was applauded by a crowd of hundreds at Guildhall Square.

Ms Corner said: "Here, in front of all of these people present, 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 is not going to be easy, and it is certainly not going to be easy for me.

"But I am prepared to go there, I am prepared to have that difficult conversation, I am prepared to be there as you hand yourself in.

Lead singer of Snow Patrol Gary Lightbody poses with Sara Canning, partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast at the Guildhall in Derry. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Lead singer of Snow Patrol Gary Lightbody poses with Sara Canning, partner of murdered journalist Lyra McKee, at the end of their three-day peace walk from Belfast at the Guildhall in Derry. Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

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

Lyra's partner Sara Canning was also in attendance and said that she had been overwhelmed by the reaction following Lyra's death.

"The people who have reached out to me, the messages and positivity and hope and sympathy from communities across Northern Ireland and across the world has just been so heartwarming and massively helpful," she said.

Lyra had planned to propose to her partner and get married in the Irish Republic, where same-sex marriage is legal.

The journalist, 29, was shot dead by dissident republicans while observing unrest in the Creggan area last month.

Snow Patrol frontman Lightbody wore a T-shirt with a message of support for the family and used an acoustic guitar as he sang two tracks, one penned about his grandmother who lived in Londonderry and another - Light Up.

He said he was honoured to take part.

"If anybody feels frustration at our political system or frustration at our inertia in Stormont then perhaps we can look to the positivity today of people gathering together," he said.

"That all they care about is that the 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, for our nieces and nephews into the future."

Performer Katie Richardson admitted to being emotional before she sang a song entitled "Lyra" in front of a silent crowd in Guildhall Square in the city.

Afterwards she said: "To Lyra."

A choir, made up of some members who had never sung before and met only hours earlier performed in front of hundreds in Derry city centre at the conclusion of the three-day march.

A rally in memory of Lyra McKee at Londonderry's Guildhall Square. Photo by Justin Kernoghan
A rally in memory of Lyra McKee at Londonderry's Guildhall Square. Photo by Justin Kernoghan

They filled a temporary stage, crammed shoulder to shoulder and dressed in everyday clothes, as they sang the murdered journalist's favourite song, Smalltown Girl.

They also covered themes like people power.

Many in the crowd wore T-shirts in her memory and carried flags with messages of peace.

Demonstrators walked from Belfast, near where her funeral was held, to a square in Derry which hosted the first rallies in protest against the gunmen hours after the talented journalist's death.

Susan Curran, a spokeswoman for the walkers told the crowd failure to do the right thing was not an option, in reference to the political vacuum.

"We want to thank the McKee family for their honesty, their integrity, their love and their strength," she said.

"Our hearts are broken for you but our hearts are open for you.

"As Lyra said, it won't always be like this, it will get better."

Richard Moore was shot and blinded aged 10 by a soldier.

He is a peace activist who brought the Dalai Lama to Derry in the past.

He urged politicians to compromise.

"What we need to see out of our leaders is for them to take a risk for peace," he said.

Mr Moore said the gunmen were destroying their own cause.

During Ms McKee's funeral a priest asked Northern Ireland's politicians why it took the death of a 29-year-old woman to unite their parties.

The latest talks process designed to restore devolved political powersharing was launched soon after the murder.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) released videos which appeared to show the moment a gunman fired the shots aimed at officers which killed the journalist.

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