Lyra McKee: Woman, 57, arrested under Terrorism Act after New IRA apologises for killing of Derry journalist

Lyra McKee: Woman, 57, arrested under Terrorism Act after New IRA apologises for killing of Derry journalist

A WOMAN has been arrested in connection with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee in Derry, after the New IRA offered "full and sincere apologies" for her killing.

The PSNI said the woman, aged 57, was arrested under the Terrorism Act over the shooting which has sparked international condemnation in recent days.

Ms McKee, 29, died in hospital shortly after being struck in the head by a stray bullet fired at police in the Creggan area of Derry amid rioting on Thursday night.

The arrest comes after the dissident republican group the New IRA admitted responsibility for the killing and apologised to Ms McKee's loved-ones.

Lyra, 29, was a top young journalist who featured in Forbes' 30 under 30 in media 2016 list (Image: PSNI)

In a statement given to The Irish News using a recognised codeword, the group also attempted to justify its action – claiming they were part of a defensive operation against "British crown forces".

The statement read: "On Thursday night, following an incursion on the Creggan by heavily armed British crown forces which provoked rioting, the IRA deployed our volunteers to engage.

"In the course of attacking the enemy, Lyra McKee was tragically killed while standing beside enemy forces.

"The IRA offer our full and sincere apologies to the partner, family and friends of Lyra McKee for her death".

The group added that it had "instructed our volunteers to take the utmost care in future when engaging the enemy, and put in place measures to help ensure this."

On Sunday, two teenage men who had been arrested over Ms McKee's murder were released without charge.

Police said there had been a "massive response" to her killing as they continued to appeal to members of the public – particularly local residents in Creggan – to come forward with more information.

In a short statement, the PSNI did not disclose any further details about where the latest arrest occurred but said the woman had been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

On Monday, friends of the slain journalist protested outside the office of Saoradh – a political group linked to the New IRA.

A number of people smeared red-painted hand prints over republican slogans on the outer wall of the office, as around half a dozen men – understood to be Saoradh members – stood outside watching on.

Police were present at the scene but no arrests were made.

Ms McKee's killing came 21 years after the historic Good Friday Agreement was signed in Northern Ireland.

The 1998 peace deal brought an end to the bloody Troubles era but has become a sticking point in the chaotic Brexit negotations, which remain ongoing.

The funeral mass of Ms McKee will be held at St Anne's Cathedral in her native Belfast on Wednesday.

Her partner, Sara Canning, said the service would be a "celebration of her life".