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Lyra McKee killer is dad for first time


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Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee

AFP/Getty Images

Lyra McKee

The teenage dissident republican killer of writer Lyra McKee has become a father.

Sunday Life can reveal that the New IRA gunman's girlfriend gave birth to a healthy son in the past week.

In a cruel twist of fate the baby was conceived in the same April 2019 week that he murdered 28-year-old Lyra with a bullet to the head during rioting in the Creggan area of Londonderry.

The radicalised young dissident and his partner, like him a member of the New IRA's political wing Saoradh, shared images of their son on social media. Among those offering congratulations were prominent paramilitaries in Derry.

"The irony of that wee boy being conceived in the same week that his father murdered Lyra McKee isn't lost on the people of Creggan," a republican source told Sunday Life.

"Hopefully being a daddy will make this wee lad wise up and knock all that dissident crap on the head."

Lyra's killer, now aged 19, was recorded on mobile phone footage firing the shots that claimed the author's life. He was wearing distinctive tracksuit bottoms with a 'Team9' logo which identified him to neighbours.

After the killing he moved across the border to Donegal on the orders of Derry New IRA chief Thomas Mellon, who feared the public outrage which followed the murder might cause the gunman to crack.

The teen returned to the Creggan area last summer after his girlfriend went public with the news she was pregnant with their son, sharing the 12-week scan on social media.

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The killer of Lyra McKee firing at police landrovers during rioting in Derry.

The killer of Lyra McKee firing at police landrovers during rioting in Derry.

But rather than keeping his head down he was immediately pictured out and about with prominent New IRA members, including the man suspected of trying to blow up Bishop Street courthouse last year.

Sources in Derry describe the young gunman as being "brainwashed" and in awe of dissident leaders like Mellon, who has a terror conviction and is on a 10-year MI5 watch-list.

"You always hope that kids like him will eventually see sense, that there isn't a war on any longer, and there will be no return to the days of barricades and Brits on the streets," added a republican.

"Mellon and the likes of him have filled this kid's head full of s***e and are using him, he will eventually realise that one day."

In a remarkable act of generosity, the family of murdered Lyra reached out to the gunman, saying they wanted to meet him and would support him if he "accepted responsibility for his actions".

But their offer of an olive branch has not been accepted, with the New IRA set to cause the journalist's relatives further pain when they take part in today's annual Bloody Sunday commemoration parade in Derry.

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Friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee defaced the walls of a dissident republican office in Londonderry with red paint. Cate McCurry/PA

Friends of murdered journalist Lyra McKee defaced the walls of a dissident republican office in Londonderry with red paint. Cate McCurry/PA

PA

Dissident chief Mellon has boasted that the gang's political wing Saoradh will be attending, with Lyra's killer expected to be among its numbers.

Kate Nash - whose brother William Nash was among 13 innocent civilians killed by paratroopers on Bloody Sunday - said organisers had no say in who could take part.

She explained: "Nobody needs permission to attend. They know from previous years that there will be no military displays. We are a march for justice, they know that is not what we are about. Obviously everybody knows what our rules are."

Belfast-born Lyra had been living with her partner Sara Canning in Derry for a year before she was shot dead. Her book 'Angels With Blue Faces' was published following her murder.

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk

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