A 27-year-old man has appeared at Londonderry Magistrates’ Court via videolink charged with possessing the gun used to shoot journalist Lyra McKee.
Niall Sheerin, of Tyrconnell Street in the city, is charged with possession of a .22 pistol with intent to endanger life and in suspicious circumstances
Mr Sheerin is charged with possessing the firearm between 12 September 2018 and 5 June 2020.
He denies the charges.
The deputy district judge granted bail to an address suitable to police and prohibited him from entering the city.
‘DNA on pistol’
A police officer told the court that spent rounds from a Hammerli .22 pistol were found after Ms McKee was shot dead during disturbances in Derry on 18 April 2019.
The court was told that in June 2020 a police operation in the Ballymagroarty area uncovered an explosive device, a pistol and eight rounds wrapped in black bin liners, as well as ammunition in a zip lock bag.
Tests were carried out and it was established that it was the weapon used to shoot Ms McKee.
The officer said the defendant’s DNA was found on the slide of the pistol and on the magazine of the weapon.
The court heard Mr Sheerin made no comment during seven interviews, but did give police a prepared statement in which he denied involvement in the killing of Ms McKee.
‘Very weak’ case
Mr Sheerin’s lawyer said there was no evidence linking his client to the charges apart from DNA, which he said would be challenged.
He described the case against his client as ‘very weak’
He applied for bail for his client, which was opposed by police, but was granted by the judge.
Mr Sheerin has to abide by a curfew, report to police five times a week and have no contact with the group Saoradh or anyone charged in connection with Ms McKee’s murder.
He is due to appear again in court on 13 August.