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Scuffles at court as Lyra murder suspect appears before judge

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Supporters of Paul McIntyre face off with police outside Derry Magistrates’ Court before he was remanded in custody charged with the murder of Lyra McKee

Supporters of Paul McIntyre face off with police outside Derry Magistrates’ Court before he was remanded in custody charged with the murder of Lyra McKee

PA

Supporters of Paul McIntyre face off with police outside Derry Magistrates’ Court before he was remanded in custody charged with the murder of Lyra McKee

A man charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee is accused of picking up casings from the bullets used to kill her, a court heard.

There were scuffles outside Derry Magistrates' Court between police and supporters of Paul McIntyre, who was remanded in custody following yesterday's hearing.

Ms McKee (29) was shot dead by dissident republicans while observing a riot in Derry last April. An extremist group styling itself the New IRA said it carried out the killing.

During a 50-minute remand hearing, Mr McIntyre's lawyer, Derwin Harvey, said: "The allegation against Mr McIntyre is that Mr McIntyre is at this riot and a male shoots the gun and that Mr McIntyre, after the gun was shot, picks up the cases."

SCAPEGOAT

Ms McKee was standing near a police vehicle when she was hit by a bullet fired by a masked gunman toward officers.

Ahead of proceedings, supporters of 52-year-old Mr McIntyre held placards saying he was a "political hostage" and a "British scapegoat" as they scuffled with up to 40 police officers when they refused to move from the entrance to the court.

There were loud cheers as Mr McIntyre left a Range Rover and was taken inside.

Mr McIntyre is also charged with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, and belonging to or professing to be a member of a proscribed organisation.

His address was given in court as Kinnego Park in Derry.

Mr Harvey said the case rested on a "snapshot" of low-quality mobile phone footage which the prosecution claimed showed a man wearing clothing matching what his client was wearing earlier in the day.

A PSNI detective, who said she could connect Mr McIntyre to the charges, outlined the extent of evidence police had examined in the last nine months. That included five hours of footage taken by an MTV camera crew making a documentary in the area.

The officer objected to bail on the grounds of potential interfering with witnesses, risk of further offending and of fleeing the jurisdiction.

Mr McIntyre appeared before a judge last May charged with riotous behaviour and arson linked to the disorder that culminated in the murder of Ms McKee.

Addressing the issue of potential intimidation of witnesses, District Judge Barney McElholm expressed concern regarding sinister graffiti in the Creggan area in which Ms McKee was killed, and "vile" posters showing a badly wounded police officer.

He remanded Mr McIntyre in custody to next appear in court on February 27.