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'Really hard' Lyra McKee's partner struggles to walk past people charged with her murder in Derry

The Northern Irish journalist was shot dead during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry on 18th April 2019.

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Murdered journalist Lyra McKee and her partner Sara Canning

Murdered journalist Lyra McKee and her partner Sara Canning

Murdered journalist Lyra McKee and her partner Sara Canning

Lyra McKee’s partner has said that it’s “really hard” to walk past people charged with her murder in the streets of Derry.

The Northern Irish journalist was shot dead during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry on 18th April 2019.

She had been standing near a police Land Rover on Fanad Drive when a gunman fired shots and wounded McKee in the head.

The New IRA claimed responsibility for the killing, stating that McKee was not the target and was caught in the line of fire.

Several men have been arrested and charged over McKee’s death.

Ms McKee’s partner Sara Canning admitted that things have been “absolutely awful” for her since losing Lyra.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast today, she said: “There are so many elements of it that are really hard to accept. We had a life that we were just beginning. There were so many amazing things that we had planned together, so many things that were coming our way. In an instant that was all ripped out from under us.

“Both of us lost out on our future together and then all of us who loved Lyra have lost out on Lyra.

“Seeing how much she was flourishing, she was going from strength to strength and we don’t get to see that. We only get to imagine what it could have been like.

“The fact that I live in Derry - the place that Lyra was shot is near my home. It’s an area where I have family living there.

“There’s people that have been charged with her murder that I have walked past in the street. That’s a really hard thing to deal with. I think it's something when you haven't been in that position you don't think about.”

Recalling the tragic night where Lyra lost her life, Ms Canning explained: “I grew up in Derry and I’m older than Lyra by six years, so for me riots were just part in parcel of growing up, whereas she’d been quite sheltered and she hadn’t really experienced it.

“Although she lived in one of the most violent parts of Belfast, her family did a really great job of keeping Lyra away from it, which was amazing.

“She wanted to go, and I said okay because it was what she did. She was a journalist, she was a reporter.

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“We were there for eight minutes, start to finish. There were eight minutes between us arriving on Fanad Drive and Lyra being shot, which is just insane when you think about it.”

Ms Canning was speaking after a new documentary about Ms McKee’s life and death premiered in Cork and Belfast over the weekend.

She said that the film was “a very hard watch” for those who loved the young journalist.

“It was amazing. It was a very hard watch because Lyra is there with us through it all,” she said.

“It’s an hour and a half and it’s Lyra, so that part of it was phenomenal because it was like having her back. It was a real comfort and it was a real feeling like she was there with us as we watched it.

“On the other hand, there was a feeling of loss at the end because she goes away again.

“Lyra is so present in it and you really get an insight into who she was and what she was like.

“Lyra was an absolutely phenomenal person... She was just an amazing person. I was so, so lucky to have gotten to know her and love her,” Ms Canning added.

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