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Caught in the act: Cops say grainy images show Lyra McKee murder accused picking up bullet casings

Grainy footage which was filmed on night writer died used to help build case

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Paul McIntyre at a court appearance on February 15.

Paul McIntyre at a court appearance on February 15.

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Pacemaker Press 13/02/2020  (far left of pic) Paddy Gallagher/Mellon: Glasses, dark hair, mid 20s, Christy O'Kane - grey hair, mid 40s, blue puffa jacket(centre). Barry Millar: tall, adidas baseball hat (right).  Supporters clash with police  as Paul Mc

Pacemaker Press 13/02/2020 (far left of pic) Paddy Gallagher/Mellon: Glasses, dark hair, mid 20s, Christy O'Kane - grey hair, mid 40s, blue puffa jacket(centre). Barry Millar: tall, adidas baseball hat (right). Supporters clash with police as Paul Mc

Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee

AFP/Getty Images

Paul McIntyre at a court appearance on February 15.

These are the grainy images of a male picking up bullet casings that cops believe will convict one of the New IRA killers of writer Lyra McKee.

The footage - taken seconds after she was shot in the head while observing a riot - show a hooded male in tracksuit bottoms picking up the spent shells.

Detectives allege that this individual is Paul 'Mackers' McIntyre, who was remanded in custody charged with the 29-year-old journalist's murder.

The case against him is built on footage recorded earlier that day by an MTV camera crew which was making a documentary about dissident republicans in Derry.

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Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

McIntyre was among those filmed in the offices of Saoradh - the political wing of the New IRA.

Cops claim that one of the masked men captured on mobile phones rioting in the Creggan estate later that evening was wearing identical clothing, consisting of Adidas trainers, tracksuit bottoms and a black cap.

They also maintain that this same individual was the person seen picking up the casing of the bullet which killed Lyra.

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Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

Male alleged to be Paul McIntyre, picking up bullet casings.

This forms the basis of McIntyre's murder charge and further accusations of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, New IRA membership and rioting.

It was revealed in court Thursday that the 52-year-old denied involvement in the killing on more than 50 occasions during police interviews.

He told detectives: "I did not murder anyone. If police speak to witnesses it will show it was not me."

Outside court, more than a dozen of McIntyre's supporters clashed with cops and threatened reporters, leading to condemnation from the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Among the gang were 'lunch-box' bomber Christy O'Kane, who was jailed for 10 years in 2015 for a series of Provisional IRA attacks in Derry in the early 1990s.

Because the crimes took place before the 1998 Good Friday Agreement the 45-year-old served just two years in prison.

Standing next to him was lanky Barry Millar (35) who is appealing a conviction of wearing paramilitary clothing and taking part in an illegal parade in support of the New IRA.

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Paddy Gallagher/Mellon (far left in glasses), Christy O'Kane (centre) and Barry Millar (right).

Paddy Gallagher/Mellon (far left in glasses), Christy O'Kane (centre) and Barry Millar (right).

Paddy Gallagher/Mellon (far left in glasses), Christy O'Kane (centre) and Barry Millar (right).

Also in the crowd was Saoradh spokesman Paddy Gallagher (28), who changed his surname from Mellon following his conviction for a "politically motivated" 2016 attack on a Sinn Fein member's car.

He was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for 18 months, for the middle-of-the-night vandalism.

Another among murder-accused Paul McIntyre's gang of supporters, but out of camera shot, was dissident bomber Jason Ceulemans. The 47-year-old served half of a 10-year prison sentence, having been caught with a mortar by police in Derry in 2012.

The group waved placards and chanted support for McIntyre while jostling with police and threatening journalists.

Saoradh has since condemned the dissident's arrest, with prominent members coming out to claim it is politically motivated. Among these are Jude Macrory, who was arrested in connection with the New IRA bombing of Derry's Bishop Street courthouse last year, but freed without charge.

Writing on social media, he said: "I stood with Mackers on many occasions highlighting various prisoner issues and miscarriages of justice, and I'll continue to stand with him and his family now."

The Saoradh protest came the day after its members put up anti-policing posters around Derry containing an image of seriously injured ex-PSNI officer Peadar Heffron.

The former cop lost his legs in a dissident under-car booby-trap bomb attack in 2010, forcing him to leave the force on medical grounds. The poster shows an image of Mr Heffron in a wheelchair next to the slogan 'Make it a career? Will you make it to work?'.

The sinister display, which has been widely condemned by politicians and the PSNI was, republican sources claim, the idea of New IRA Derry leader Thomas Mellon.

The 44-year-old, who is on a 10 year MI5 watch list, having been convicted of smuggling items to jailed dissident prisoners, did not attend the courthouse protest in support of Paul McIntrye.

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Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee

AFP/Getty Images

Lyra McKee

This is down to him wanting to maintain a low-profile, and concerns he had about being confronted by family and friends of Lyra in front of the media.

"Tommy thought it would be better if he didn't attend the protest in case there was a row," a republican source told Sunday life.

"He is being hassled non-stop by the cops, especially after those posters of Peadar Heffron went up, which were his idea."

Mellon has also told his New IRA pals that he expects the murder case against Paul McIntyre to collapse because of the low quality of the film footage central to the prosecution.

The grandfather is charged on the basis of joint enterprise, in that he facilitated a gun being fired that night, despite not pulling the trigger himself.

PSNI Detective Superintendent Jason Murphy, who is heading the murder inquiry, has effectively acknowledged that McIntyre was not the gunman.

Prior to the alleged New IRA member being charged, the top cop said: "I have always said a number of individuals were involved with the gunman on the night Lyra was killed... the quest for the evidence to bring the gunman to justice remains active and ongoing."

The name of the then teenage gunman who killed Lyra is well-known throughout Derry. He recently became a dad for the first time.

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