Distraught family at rally for murder victim

The griefstricken young son of Derry murder victim Barry McCrory has attended a rally in the city centre to mark public revulsion at his killing.

Shea McCrory, aged nine, was comforted by his grandmother Anne as they joined several hundred people at the rally in Guildhall Square this morning.

GRIEF-STRICKEN. . . .Murder victim Barry McCrory's mother Anne, pictured during Friday's peace rally in Guildhall Square. DER4113JM047

GRIEF-STRICKEN. . . .Murder victim Barry McCrory's mother Anne, pictured during Friday's peace rally in Guildhall Square. DER4113JM047

The vigil was held at 11am to co-incide with approximately the same time as Barry McCrory was gunned down in his city centre flat yesterday.

A lone gunman shot Mr McCrory dead after forcing his girlfriend into another room at the upstairs apartment in Shipquay Street shortly after 10.30am on Thursday.

This morning’s rally was organised by the Unity of Purpose Group - which comprises local business, community and church leaders together with other “city stakeholders” - in opposition to the brutal murder.

Relatives of Mr. McCrory including his parents were present. His mother Anne and young son became visibly upset several times during the rally. Mrs McCrory told local politicians including Foyle MP Mark Durkan that the family had been left devastated by the killing. Two minutes’ silence was observed shortly after 11am.

Addressing the crowd, local community worker Seamus Heaney said a brutal killer “cooly and calmly walked into that apartment and took a man’s life.”

“There was no nobility in what he was doing and no justice, it was simply hatred. Whatever cause he felt he was representing, we as a people standing here today reject it in every sense. As a people we are divided on many fronts, politics, history, a sense of identity and our religious beliefs but today, as one people and one city we reject this violence, whether it is politically motivated or otherwise,” he said.

As the rally took place, police forensics officers combed an area at Clarence Avenue in the city where a viable mortar type device was discovered overnight. Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes and the nearby Strand Road area during the early hours. It is believed the bomb was targeting the city’s PSNI headquarters nearby.

Condemning those responsible for the mortar incident, Mr Heaney said: “As if yesterday’s horror was not enough, people felt it was ok to use the incident as a cloak to plant a mortar in an attempt to kill more innocent lives. The message has to go out strongly here today. We want these people to put away their guns and bombs. If you hurt one of us, you hurt us all.”

Among those at this morning’s rally were SDLP MP Mark Durkan, Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson, and Derry’s Deputy Mayor Gary Middleton.