Man who stored Lyra McKee murder weapon sentenced to seven years

A man convicted of possessing the gun used to shoot journalist Lyra McKee has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Niall Sheerin, 29, pleaded guilty earlier this year to possession of a pistol and ammunition with intent to enable another person to endanger life.

At a hearing in Belfast on Wednesday, judge Mr Justice Fowler handed down an extended custodial sentence of seven years’ imprisonment and a further five years on licence.

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The gun – a Hammerli X-Esse .22 pistol – was found wrapped in plastic bags in a hollow behind a telegraph pole in a field in the Ballymagroarty area of Londonderry in 2020.

Shot dead: Lyra McKee
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Ballistics tests showed the pistol had been used in five shootings in the city in the previous 21 months.

Lyra, 29, was shot dead as she observed rioting in the Creggan area of Derry.

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The New IRA admitted responsibility for her murder and DNA linked to Sheerin was found on the weapon.

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