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Sara Canning hopeful gun find will bring Lyra McKee's killers to justice

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Lyra with her partner

Lyra with her partner

Lyra with her partner

The partner of Lyra McKee has said that she is hopeful the discovery of the murder weapon will bring her killers to justice.

Sara Canning said that seeing pictures of the gun "brought it all home". She was informed of the discovery on Wednesday.

"It's strange to think something so small caused so much damage and took so much away," she told BBC Radio Foyle.

Ms Canning said her initial reaction to seeing the weapon was to leave work after finding it "really difficult" to look at.

"Lots of things as we've walked on this path have been like punches to the gut, but that was a particularly big one," she said.

"We have to hold out hope that is going to give up something that will bring us a step closer to getting the person who fired the gun."

Lyra's sister Nichola Corner also spoke of her feelings at seeing the murder weapon.

"Seeing it for the first time it's a terrible shock to know that that is the weapon that killed your sister," she told UTV.

"It's a shock to see what was used to take her out of this world, to end her life, to steal her from all of us. There used to be a phrase that 'if you find the weapon, you find the man responsible for firing that weapon', and I'm hoping that this piece of the jigsaw - this weapon - will lead to that person."

Following the discovery police in Londonderry have said the "net is tightening" around the killer.

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

Following forensic testing police confirmed that the gun, a German 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".

"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 further forensic testing was planned on the gun.

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Police have confirmed this was the gun used to kill journalist Lyra McKee during a riot in Londonderry

Police have confirmed this was the gun used to kill journalist Lyra McKee during a riot in Londonderry

Police have confirmed this was the gun used to kill journalist Lyra McKee during a riot in Londonderry

"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."

Londonderry 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 yesterday 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