The day before Lyra McKee was shot dead by dissident Republicans, she called her older sister, Nichola, to tell her about a disturbing dream.
She had a dream that she was shot in the head and killed. I just told her not to worry we all have weird dreams sometimes. My little sister was shot the very next day,” Nichola Corner-McKee said Sunday independent.
“She has written a great deal about the legacy of problems. Lyra had a gift of prophecy, but we didn’t recognize it as such.
“She previously wrote extensively about her fear of being murdered because she was a journalist.
“She wrote about what she would do if she was ever shot, how she would shoot back with an imaginary gun.”
Last week, Lyra McKee’s family celebrated the third anniversary of her murder.
She was shot dead on April 18, 2019 while watching a riot in Derry.
The New IRA admitted responsibility shortly after the shooting and apologized, saying their gunman had aimed at police.
The 29-year-old was one of Northern Ireland’s most promising young journalists, but for her loved ones it was much more than that, her sister said.
“It’s like we’re in a time warp, we’re still in 2019,” she said. “I still have to ask people sometimes what year it is. We were thrown into this nightmare three years ago and we are still in it and will remain in it until the man who fired that gun is brought to justice.
“We miss her every day and expect her to come back in the door or send me a photo of her cat.
“It’s very surreal that she’s silent, it’s like living in a surreal dream that you can’t wake up from.”
On the night Lyra was killed, three men were charged with murder and six others with public order violations.
But the shooter responsible has not been criminally charged and until he is, the family will not be able to process their loss, her sister added.
Nichola doesn’t know the name of the prime suspect in her sister’s murder, but the investigating police do.
“I have a message for him on their anniversary — take off your mask and be a man,” she said. “Face your responsibilities and face the consequences of your actions.
“Because we won’t give up while we’re alive until we get justice for Lyra.
“There are people in Derry who are also protecting the killer. There are also people in the Derry community who know who he is.
“The people of Derry have fought great battles for justice for innocent people who have been murdered in the past.
“I am now asking these people to find it in their hearts to help us move forward with our grief. Please bring all information to the police.
“Look into your heart and do the right thing. Help end this ongoing nightmare.”
Vigils were held last Monday to mark the third anniversary of Lyra’s death.
Family, friends and colleagues gathered to publicly commemorate and honor her at the spot where she was murdered in Creggan.
Not far away, in the city cemetery, the police were attacked with petrol bombs and brickwork by dissidents who had organized a parade.
“I have no doubt that they staged violence to try to divert attention from Lyra’s anniversary,” Nichola said.
“There was a lot of media attention because of the anniversary vigil and they tried to hijack it by starting violence. These people are so despicable. But they won’t win.”
The parade, which erupted in violence, was planned by the National Republican Commemoration Committee.
She organizes events on behalf of the Saoradh Republican Party, which opposes the Good Friday Agreement. Police have linked the party to the New IRA.
Around 1,000 people took part in the demonstration, some with their faces covered.
Young people were encouraged by adults to attack the police, Derry’s senior police officer said afterwards.
“Lyra would have been horrified by the scenes and especially how they used children for their dirty work,” Nichola said.
“The night of her murder it was the same very young teenagers involved in the riots.
“I think these adults should be charged with child exploitation. Teenagers were arrested in connection with Lyra’s murder.
“These people ruin children’s lives before they even have a chance to get started properly.”
In contrast, Lyra’s life was flourishing at the time of her murder.
“She was just someone with so much goodness, so much kindness, so much love,” his sister said. “Generous, sweet and friendly is the best way to describe her. She was a bundle of energy and a ball of fun.
“She wouldn’t hurt a fly. If she ever had an argument with anyone, she would be upset until it was resolved. The most important things to her were her family and the people she loved and her cat.
“She built a great career for herself. She gave a voice to people who didn’t have one.
“She was driven by a strong sense of justice and empathy. So it’s only fitting that she gets the justice she deserves now.”
Lyra was particularly close to her mother, Joan, with whom she lived part of the week and helped care for her.
The heartbroken mother of six died a month before the first anniversary of her daughter’s murder.
“She never got over it, how could she? Lyra was her youngest child,” Nichola said. “Many people in the family suffered from traumatic stress after Lyra was killed, some family members were even hospitalized, but it was so hard for our mother.
“My uncle died shortly after we buried Lyra. This is how my mother lost her big brother, who was very close to her, and her baby in a matter of days.”
Nichola believes her mother, sister, and uncle were “reunited in the afterlife.”
“That’s a bit of a comfort to me. But I would prefer if they were here,” she said.
Lyra’s family still can’t process aspects of her murder.
“People filmed her after she was mortally wounded and circulated it,” Nichola said. “This is worrying. It increases our sadness. But that pain won’t stop us from doing all we can.
“Getting justice for Lyra really means justice for everyone. Because it would get a dangerous killer off the streets.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/its-like-were-in-a-time-warp-and-will-be-until-lyras-killer-faces-justice-41581807.html “It’s like we’re in a time warp and will be until Lyra’s killer is brought to justice.”