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Jury played 999 calls from father-of-two accused of murdering wife Lu Na McKinney

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Stephen McKinney appears at Dungannon Court. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Stephen McKinney appears at Dungannon Court. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Lu Na McKinney. Pic: Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk

Lu Na McKinney. Pic: Alan Lewis- PhotopressBelfast.co.uk

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Stephen McKinney appears at Dungannon Court. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

The trial of a father-of-two accused of murdering his wife during a boating holiday on Lough Erne has heard recordings of his 999 calls.

Stephen McKinney, who is alleged to have killed Lu Na McKinney in April 2017, was heard panting and crying while asking for help in two recordings lasting more than 40 minutes.

The calls were made at 1am on April 13 from the jetty at Devenish Island, where the couple had moored a cruiser they hired to celebrate their then upcoming 14th wedding anniversary.

In the recordings, McKinney (44) said: "My wife fell in the lake... I’m on Devenish, Devenish Island. I can’t see her. She fell in and I jumped in to try and get her. I can’t see her... please get here quickly. I can’t see her."

He also complained of feeling cold before the call was cut.

Moments later, he was reconnected with a different call handler, who he told: "My wife fell in the water and I can’t see her."

He said she was not wearing a lifejacket and had fallen in after going to check the boat’s mooring ropes.

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McKinney added he got hold of his wife after jumping into the water but lost sight of her after she kept "pulling" him down.

"I need to get into the water... I need to find her," he told the operator, who replied he should remain on the cruiser for the sake of his children.

McKinney went on to say: "I need to be going back into the water. Please just come quickly. I can’t see her."

The operator told him he was the only adult there and needed to remain clam, but the defendant replied: "I need to get my wife. I need to go and get my Lu Na... I need to get back in."

Asked how long his wife had been in the water, McKinney said he did not know but thought it could be "maybe 10 minutes".

At one stage, he claimed to hear "banging on the boat", saying: I hear somebody... I think it could be Lu Na."

He also told the operator: "I need to find Lu Na... she’s 35... she’s very young. I was in the water and was trying to pull her up... I got a hold of her (and) she got a hold of me. I tried to pull her up, but she pulled me down... I shouldn’t have let her go."

As the police arrived at the scene, he said: "I see her, I see her.... I don’t know."

The recordings were played to a jury at Dungannon Crown Court. McKinney, of Castletown Square in Fintona, denies murder. The trial continues.


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