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Two men appear in Derry court charged with rioting on night Lyra McKee was shot

Paul McIntyre aged 51, and Christopher Gillen aged 38, were refused bail today at Derry Magistrates’ Court.

L-to-R: Paul McIntyre, aged 51, and Christopher Gillen, aged 38, appear at Derry Magistrates' Court today.
L-to-R: Paul McIntyre, aged 51, and Christopher Gillen, aged 38, appear at Derry Magistrates' Court today.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

TWO MEN HAVE appeared in court charged with rioting in Derry on the night that journalist Lyra McKee was shot dead.

Paul McIntyre aged 51, and Christopher Gillen, aged 38 – both charged with riot and petrol bomb offences – were refused bail at Derry Magistrates’ Court.

They were among the four people arrested on Thursday; two other males, aged 15 and 18, were released without charge.

McIntyre and Gillen refused to stand and recognise the court today.

McIntyre is also charged with the arson of a hijacked vehicle while Gillen is also charged with the arson and hijacking of a tipper truck.

The prosecution alleges that both men are connected to the New IRA paramilitary group, which orchestrated the rioting on 18 April and has since claimed responsibility for the death of Lyra McKee.

The 29-year-old was shot in the head while documenting the riots which took place in the Creggan area on the Thursday before the Easter weekend. 

A PSNI detective told the court that footage from security cameras and mobile phones showed two masked men in identical clothing to the defendants leaving the hijacked tipper truck, carrying a crate of petrol bombs and deploying them at police officers.

“Police believe these were the ring leaders, that’s obvious from footage,” the detective said.

Judge Barney Mcelholm told the court:

All nationalism corrupts into fascism eventually, whether it’s Irish nationalism or British or Polish nationalism. We’ve all seen where it ends up.

“I have to bear in mind these gentlemen, there’s no evidence either of them belong to any paramilitary organisation, but they are a part of an organisation with a defined ideology.”

On the possibility of them being released from custody, he said: “There is no address anywhere in this city which would be suitable in this case, at any stage. I will refuse bail.”

The killing of McKee led to an outpouring of grief, and put pressure on politicians in Northern Ireland to agree to restore the province’s power-sharing institutions.

Talks are underway to try to bridge the gap between Sinn Féin and the DUP, after the Stormont Assembly collapsed in January 2017 over the cash-for-ash scandal.

- with reporting from Gráinne Ní Aodha

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