Paul McIntyre was charged with the murder of journalist Lyra McKee who was shot in Creggan, Co Derry in April 2019

Lyra McKee’s murder suspect, 52-year-old Paul McIntyre, appeared in a Derry court on February 13, the day after he was charged in the 29-year-old journalist’s murder as well as possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and professing to be a member of a proscribed organization.

Read More: Man charged in the murder of journalist Lyra McKee

Outside of Derry Magistrates Court on Thursday, scuffles broke out while some of McIntyre’s supporters displayed posters saying "political hostage" and a "British scapegoat.”

A number of supporters of Paul McIntyre have gathered outside court ahead of his appearance accused of the murder of Lyra McKee. pic.twitter.com/nCAuIs0yUQ

— David Young (@DavidYoungPA) February 13, 2020

Some scuffling among the protesters and police this morning as Paul McIntyre, 52, from Derry was charged with murder, possession of a firearm and membership of a proscribed organisation, the IRA. #LyraMcKee pic.twitter.com/tWbwopu8PY

— Brendan Marshall (@BJPMarshall) February 13, 2020

Inside the court, McKee’s friends and relatives, including her partner Sara Canning, wore shirts that said "Speak Out For Lyra" alongside a picture of the journalist.

Family and partner of #LyraMcKee leave the courthouse. pic.twitter.com/8xHkMDaiLj

— Q Radio News (@qnewsdesk) February 13, 2020

District Judge Barney McElholm said in court: "A woman with her entire life ahead of her, a very promising life, was murdered needlessly and pointlessly, like all the other murders in this country.

"It is very important that the murderers of Lyra McKee are brought to justice if this can be done, but we need to get the right people and every person deserves a fair trial."

Judge McElholm added that the protestors’ behavior outside of the court, including blocking an entrance and “threatening journalists,” was doing “no favors whatsoever” for the accused.

Read More: Four arrested for murder of young journalist in Northern Ireland

McIntyre's defense attorney Derwin Harvey said in court: “The allegation against Mr. McIntyre is that Mr. McIntyre is at this riot and a male shoots the gun and that Mr. McIntyre, after the gun was shot, picks up the cases.”

Harvey insists that the evidence against his client, which reportedly includes five hours of footage taken by an MTV camera crew which was making a documentary in the area, mobile phone footage, and witness statements from members of the public and police, is "scant."

"There is no clear evidence linking Mr. McIntyre to this event,” Harvey told the court. He added that McIntyre denied involvement with McKee’s murder more than 50 times during police interviews.

According to Harvey, when McIntyre was charged on February 12, he said: "I did not murder anyone. If police speak to witnesses it will show it was not me."

The hearing lasted only 50 minutes. McIntyre, who only spoke to confirm his name and address, was refused bail and remanded into custody and is set to appear in court again on February 27.

Read More: Theresa May, Leo Varadkar hear passionate plea for peace at Lyra McKee's funeral

Lyra McKee’s murder

Lyra McKee (Getty Images)

Lyra McKee (Getty Images)

Lyra McKee, a 29-year-old Belfast native, journalist, and LGBT activist, was shot and killed while observing an outbreak of violence in the Creggan area of Co Derry in Northern Ireland on April 18, 2019.

The "New IRA," a dissident republican group, claimed responsibility for McKee's death. The group said in a statement: "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."

Earlier this week, four men, including McIntyre, were arrested as part of the ongoing investigation into McKee's murder. One man was released without charge, another two men were released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service, and McIntyre was remanded into custody and charged the following day.

The Irish News reports that McIntyre appeared before a judge in May last year charged with riotous behavior and arson linked to the disorder that culminated with McKee's murder.

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