Lyra McKee’s family make official complaint to Police Ombudsman

Family query if police search operation in Derry on night of murder was justified

The family of murdered journalist Lyra McKee has complained to the Northern Police Ombudsman Marie Anderson about how the PSNI carried out a police search operation in Derry in advance of her killing.

Ms McKee was shot dead by a dissident republican gunman in April last year while she was observing a riot behind police lines in the republican Creggan area of Derry City.

The complaint from the 29-year-old journalist’s family relates to a decision by the PSNI to search a house in the Creggan area on April 18th, the night of her death.

During the search serious rioting broke out. Some questions were raised at the time about whether the police were wise to mount a search operation in Creggan at night. Police were searching for guns and possible explosives in advance of Easter commemorations by dissident republicans in the city.


The PSNI said the search was necessary for operational reasons aimed at targetting dissident republicans, in this case the New IRA who killed Ms McKee.

“Whilst we hold Lyra’s killer and their associates completely responsible for her murder, we have asked the police ombudsman to investigate the aspects of the policing operation on 18th April 2019,” the McKee family said in a statement.

“The Police Ombudsman investigation is completely separate to the ongoing murder investigation. We consider this a very personal family matter and have no further comment,” the family added.

A Police Ombudsman spokesman confirmed, “We have received a complaint about the police operations in the Creggan area of the city that evening, and it is now being investigated.”

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty

Gerry Moriarty is the former Northern editor of The Irish Times