Tributes pour in for ‘gifted and compassionate’ journalist Lyra McKee

Journalist Lyra McKee who was shot and killed when a gunman who opened fire during disturbances in Derry was a gifted, kind and loving person, her friends and colleagues have said.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 9:47 am
Updated Friday, 19th April 2019, 10:52 am
Lyra McKee
Lyra McKee

Friends, colleagues, journalists and others have all spoken of how talented she was as a journalist.Ms McKee was an editor with a US based news website, and had recently signed a two-book deal with a publisher. She was named Sky News Young Journalist of the Year in 2006 and Forbes Magazine back in 2016 named her one of their 30 under 30 in media across Europe.Lyra has also been praised as an inspiration for talking about her own experiences of coming out as a gay woman in order to help others. She also delivered a TedTalk which is being shared across the world today. The 29-year-old was described by police as an “innocent bystander” who was one of numerous civilians and journalists who were in the area when the gunman appeared and fired shots up Fanad Drive in Creggan.Lyra was standing close to a police Land Rover when she was killed and was taken from the scene in the PSNI vehicle to Altnagelvin Hospital but died from her injuries. Police said rioting had been ongoing at the time.“I understand she is a journalist but my understanding is that last night she wasn’t actually working as a journalist,” Assistant Police Constable Mark Hamilton said at a press conference today. “To be honest why she was here is irrelevant, she should not be dead. There is no reason why this should have been done to this person. Her reasons for being there were perfectly legitimate, she was a perfectly innocent bystander and we just have to utterly condemn this.”Lyra was a talented journalist and one friend paying tribute to her via Twitter described her as “a dedicated daughter, sister, partner and such a loyal friend, through ups and downs”.The same friend wrote that she was “a gifted writer and as stubborn as they come”. Another friend called Lyra “one of Belfast’s true characters”.He said: “Gifted, driven and an absolute geg to be with - Lyra had that heaven-sent ability to chat with absolutely anyone and make them feel they were with a friend. All of her hard work was finally paying off too ffs. What a loss.”Journalist Suzanne Breen also posted a tribute on social media. She wrote: “One of my best friends, Lyra McKee, has been shot dead by republican dissidents in Derry. She was a gem of a journalist and human being. The most compassionate and sensitive person I’ve ever met. She cared about people and stories that nobody else did. “At just 29, she’d signed a two book deal with Faber. You’d never have guessed it. A media rarity, she was totally without ego.”Matthew Hughes meanwhile said he had been left “devastated” by the death of one of his closest friends.“I just received the heartbreaking news that my friend @LyraMcKee was murdered tonight in a terrorist incident in Derry,” he tweeted.“She was one of my closest friends. She was my mentor. She was a groomswoman at my wedding. I can’t imagine life without her, and yet now I must.”

Lyra McKee