Belfast Telegraph

Woman, 29, dies after shots fired during unrest in Londonderry

The victim is believed to be a journalist.

A burning car in Creggan, Londonderry on the night of April 18 (Niall Carson/PA)
A burning car in Creggan, Londonderry on the night of April 18 (Niall Carson/PA)

A 29-year-old woman has died after shots were fired in Londonderry, with police in Northern Ireland treating the death as a “terrorist incident”.

Police in Northern Ireland have launched a murder inquiry after the death in the Creggan area of the city amid unrest on Thursday evening.

The victim is believed to be a journalist, with Seamus Dooley of the National Union of Journalists saying the organisation was “shocked by (the) killing of a journalist of courage, style and integrity”.

Petrol bombs were thrown and images from the scene show vehicles alight and others burnt out, with dissident republican terrorists suspected of being behind the attack.

The Press Association has seen mobile phone footage purporting to be from the scene, showing at least two shots being fired before a distant scream can be heard.

“They’ve shot someone up there,” a male voice says on another clip, which has not been verified.

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Armed police in Creggan, Londonderry (Niall Carson/PA)

Assistant chief constable Mark Hamilton, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said a murder inquiry had been launched after the death.

He said: “Sadly I can confirm that following shots being fired tonight in Creggan, a 29-year-old woman has been killed.

“We are treating this as a terrorist incident and we have launched a murder inquiry.”

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Armed police at the scene of unrest in Creggan, Londonderry (Niall Carson/PA

Journalist Leona O’Neill said she was at the scene of the killing.

Writing on Twitter, she said: “I was standing beside this young woman when she fell beside a police Land Rover tonight in Creggan #Derry.

“I called an ambulance for her but police put her in the back of their vehicle and rushed her to hospital where she died. Just 29 years old. Sick to my stomach tonight.”

The murder of this young woman is a human tragedy for her family, but it is also an attack on all the people of this community, an attack on our peace process and an attack on the Good Friday Agreement Michelle O'Neill

The unrest comes ahead of the Easter weekend where republicans mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, a time when dissidents are traditionally active.

Politicians have widely condemned the killing.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O’Neill said the killing in Derry was a “senseless loss of life”.

She said: “I am shocked and saddened at the tragic news that a young woman has been shot dead by so-called dissidents in the Creggan estate tonight.

“The murder of this young woman is a human tragedy for her family, but it is also an attack on all the people of this community, an attack on our peace process and an attack on the Good Friday Agreement.

“I unreservedly condemn those responsible for killing this young woman.

“We will remain resolute in our opposition to the pointless actions of these people who care nothing for the people of Derry.”

Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster tweeted: “Heartbreaking news. A senseless act. A family has been torn apart.

“Those who brought guns onto our streets in the 70s, 80s & 90s were wrong. It is equally wrong in 2019.

“No one wants to go back. My thoughts are also with the brave officers who stood in defence of their community.”

Gary Middleton, a DUP former deputy mayor of Derry City Council and current Member of the Legislative Assembly, tweeted: “Disgraceful scenes of violence in the Creggan estate tonight.

“PSNI and members of the public being put in danger by unrepresentative thugs intent on destroying communities.”

Mark H Durkan, SDLP MLA for Foyle, said he was left “heartbroken and angry” by the killing.

“Just leaving Creggan, heartbroken and angry at the senseless loss of a young life,” he tweeted.

“Violence (only creates victims, that’s all it ever has done. The thoughts and prayers of our city are with the young woman’s family and friends, may she rest in peace.”

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