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Police identify gun used in murder of Lyra McKee

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the Hammerli X-Esse pistol used to muder Lyra McKee

the Hammerli X-Esse pistol used to muder Lyra McKee

the Hammerli X-Esse pistol used to muder Lyra McKee

Police in Londonderry have identified the gun used in the murder of Lyra McKee.

The gun was recovered by police during searches in the Ballymagroarty area of the city last Friday and Saturday.

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the Hammerli X-Esse pistol used to muder Lyra McKee

the Hammerli X-Esse pistol used to muder Lyra McKee

the Hammerli X-Esse pistol used to muder Lyra McKee

Following forensic testing police identified that the gun, a Hammerli X-Esse pistol, was the same one used in the killing of Ms McKee during rioting in the Creggan area on April 18, 2019.

Dissident republican group the New IRA admitted responsibility for her murder.

Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who is leading the investigation into Ms McKee's murder, said one line of inquiry was that the gun had been stolen "some time ago".

"I also know that that gun was used a number of times prior to Lyra's murder, but at this stage because those matters remain under investigation I cannot confirm any further details," he said.

Detective Superintendent Murphy said that "a number of New IRA figures were involved in producing the gun that night".

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Murdered: Lyra McKee

Murdered: Lyra McKee

Murdered: Lyra McKee

"I know who they are and the public know who they are and also I know who the gunman is," he said.

Detective Superintendent Murphy said that further forensic testing was planned on the gun and that the investigation was far from over.

Lyra's partner Sara Canning and the rest of her family were informed of the identification of the gun on Thursday.

Detective Superintendent Murphy said they were "grateful and relieved" to hear the news.

He appealed for the public to continue to support the investigation.

"For the New IRA the net is tightening, one positive result will have significant consequences for the New IRA," Detective Superintendent Murphy said.

"If you know anything about the gun now is the time to talk to us."

Derry man Paul McIntyre, 52, who is currently in custody in Maghaberry Prison is charged with murdering Ms McKee.

He denies the charges.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has welcomed progress in the police investigation.

The Foyle MP said:“The recovery of the gun used in the murder is significant and I hope that it will lead to further developments.

“Those responsible for taking the life of a young journalist in Derry need to understand that there was nothing patriotic about it. There is no honour to be found in the murder of someone with so much to contribute to our city and our island.

"They have set themselves against the people of Derry and the people of Ireland. They must face justice.

“I am renewing my appeal to the people of our city. If you have any information about Lyra’s murder, no matter how small, and you haven’t come forward yet, now is the moment. We all have a part to play in ending the grip of violent men on our communities.”

Belfast Telegraph