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Fight for justice Sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee 'wept' when she heard of latest development in case

Speaking to the Sunday World an emotional Nichola spoke of her daily heartache

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Lyra and Nichola

Lyra and Nichola

Lyra and Nichola

The sister of murdered journalist Lyra McKee says she still has faith the PSNI will bring her killers to justice.

Nichola Corner wept when she heard last Tuesday's news that a French production company's offices had been searched as part of the investigation into her baby sister's murder by the New IRA.

Footage of the night Lyra died and also footage of interviews with members of Saoradh and a member of the New IRA are believed to have been seized.

She says this latest and unexpected development proves to her and her family that Lyra has not been forgotten and police are still hot on the heels of the callous killers who claimed the talented woman's life in Derry in 2019.

Speaking to the Sunday World an emotional Nichola spoke of her daily heartache and the days when she can't get out of bed, her grief is so overwhelming.

"I wept when I heard the news. I just burst into tears but I was happy too because it tells you the length (Detective Sergeant) Jason Murphy (PSNI) and his team are going to secure the evidence needed to get justice for Lyra and that's all we want.

"Getting her back is what we really want but sadly that's not possible," Nichola Corner said.

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Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee

"After two years of this nightmare failure is not an option. I can only describe what is happening to us as a roller-coaster of emotions, you just don't know what is going to happen next. There are still days when I can't get out of bed.

"It's not that I don't want to - it's that I can't, I just want to lie under a blanket the pain is sometimes just too much."

Nichola and her Belfast family are unaware of the content of the footage but hope it will contain the breakthrough so desperately needed.

"It really is a bizarre twist that a trip to Paris was necessary and that there is a continental connection but we hope really hope it could be something.

"They (the murder team) really have gone to some lengths when you think about it, to go to Paris, that would make you think that they believe there is something vital to be retrieved.

"I don't know what it is they have, or they think they have, but it is a great comfort that the fight has not stopped. I just have to be patient. To be honest I am surprised why a film company in France would be interested in the likes of Saoradh. I didn't even know who they were until Lyra was murdered and I live here. The film company are so separate from us that I think it's odd they would be interested in a meaningless, tiny organisation in Derry,".

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Nichola is relieved that the PSNI operation into tackling dissident crime gangs appears to be working.

"They have to get rid of them, they are a danger to their own people. They don't care who they kill or who they maim.

"On the night Lyra was shot there were local people standing outside their houses, they could have shot and killed anyone and it wasn't going to be police officers. They were all in their land-rovers, they were not in danger unless they had got out.

"It is fortunate that not more than one was killed because of the NIRA's recklessness and lack of respect for life. Derry, like everywhere else, deserve to live in a safer place. We don't want to be chained to the past. People want better lives and to do that the heartless terrorists have to be eradicated."

The Sunday World can reveal members of the New IRA in Derry are anxious about what the footage contains and what the fallout is for them.

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Pallbearers carry the coffin of journalist Lyra McKee (29) for the funeral service at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast on April 24, 2019.  (Photo by Paul Faith / AFP)

Pallbearers carry the coffin of journalist Lyra McKee (29) for the funeral service at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast on April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Faith / AFP)

Pallbearers carry the coffin of journalist Lyra McKee (29) for the funeral service at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast on April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Faith / AFP)

"I hope they are worried and they are right to be so. I hope they have sleepless nights. Let them, because we have had many. At the start I never slept for months, I hope their conscience and fears keep them awake every hour for what they did," she added.

The Paris raid came after the granting of European Investigation Order.

They seized footage taken in Derry's Creggan estate where the crew, who had exclusive access to members of the New IRA, left the jurisdiction without handing over what they had filmed.

The PSNI said it believes a camera crew from the production company was in Derry throughout the week of Ms McKee's murder.

The search of their Paris offices was carried out on Tuesday morning led by two French judges and with the assistance of French police, the PSNI said.

"A European Investigation Order was carefully considered, sought and granted by Belfast Crown Court and the search was later approved and supported by senior members of the French judiciary.

"A number of items have been recovered for further examination," the PSNI said.

Another production company working with MTV handed over all its footage within hours of the shooting and left the jurisdiction shortly afterwards.

It said at the time: "We can confirm that a production company was filming a documentary series for MTV in Northern Ireland and was present in the Creggan area where journalist Lyra McKee was tragically shot and killed."

It later released a statement saying the documentary had been cancelled and would never be shown due to respect to Lyra who was shot dead while observing rioting.

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