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Lyra McKee PA

Police officer heard 'horrifying' scream after shot that killed Lyra McKee was fired, court hears

Three men are on trial at Belfast Crown Court accused of murdering the journalist in Derry.

A RETIRED POLICE officer told the trial of three men accused of murdering journalist Lyra McKee how he heard a “horrifying” scream after the shot was fired.

A serving police officer also described how he instructed that Lyra be placed in the back of a PSNI Land Rover moments after she was shot in the head during rioting in Derry.

She had been standing close to police vehicles while observing the riot in the Creggan area on the night of 18 April 2019.

The New IRA claimed responsibility for the author’s death.

Peter Cavanagh, 35, of Mary Street, Derry; Jordan Gareth Devine, 23, of Bishop Street, Derry; and Paul McIntyre, 56, of Kells Walk, Derry, are on trial charged with her murder.

This morning, the non-jury trial heard from PSNI officers who were on duty in Derry during the disorder the night Lyra was shot.

The trial has previously heard how police Land Rovers had come under attack from rioters.

One officer, who was stationed in a Land Rover, was asked by a Crown barrister if he could remember what he heard shortly after 11pm on that night.

He said: “I heard a series of dull pops and I thought that was something to do in relation to the burning vehicles, possibly tyres.”

The officer said he then heard a “lot of screaming”.

He said: “I heard the screams, I knew something was wrong and I said to the guys in the back, ‘I’m going to have to get out’.

“I got out of the vehicle, there was a lot of activity.

“I could see a lot of people, maybe eight to 10 people, and a person lying on the ground.”

He added: “I heard one person say that ‘she has been shot’ and then heard another person say ‘she has been hit in the head’.

“They were in the process of lifting her and carrying her away.

“I said to them ‘put her in the back of the police vehicle’.

“It was my opinion to get Lyra the quickest medical attention, to put her in the back of the Land Rover.

“That was the quickest way to get her to hospital.”

Another retired officer, who was driving a police Land Rover, was asked if he remembered hearing a scream.

He said: “A horrifying scream. I heard that it came from my left, from a female, and it was a horrifying scream.

“A large crowd ran up to where the scream had come from. They were wondering what had happened.

“A female had been placed in the back of the vehicle to my left.”

Seven other men are on trial at Belfast Crown Court on a number of charges, including rioting and throwing petrol bombs.

They are: Joseph Patrick Barr, 36, of Sandringham Drive, Derry; Jude Forest Coffey, 26, of Gartan Square, Derry; William Patrick Elliott, 57, of Ballymagowan Gardens, Derry; Joseph Anthony Campbell, 23, of Gosheden Cottages, Derry; Patrick Anthony Gallagher, 32, of John Field Place, Derry; Christopher Joseph Gillen, 43, of Balbane Pass, Derry; and Kieran George McCool, 55, of Ballymagowan Gardens, Derry.

Press Association