Lifford man charged with murder of wife Lu Na to challenge evidence
A man charged with murdering his wife after her body was recovered from water near Devenish Island in Co Fermanagh is to challenge some expert evidence which led to him being charged with her murder.
Defence lawyers made the disclosure as Stephen McKinney (42) appeared for a scheduled committal hearing at Enniskillen Magistrates Court.
McKinney, who had been residing in Lifford, but remanded on bail to an address at Castletown Square, Fintona, is accused of murdering his wife Lu Na, on a date between April 11 and 14, 2017. She was originally from China, and the couple married in 2003, living in a number of places before settling in Co Donegal.
Aged 35 at the time of her death, she was mother of the couple's two children, who were asleep onboard the boat when the alleged murder occurred.
A defending lawyer said having reviewed the case papers - of which there are 2,500 pages - and on consulting with McKinney, a decision had been taken to seek an adjournment.
A prosecuting lawyer said on the basis of what had been discussed, the next stage would be a Preliminary Investigation (PI). This will require a district judge to be allocated to read the case papers. However, the defence said they did not feel a full PI was required, as the issues are limited to the evidence of certain experts and what they say.
Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne remanded McKinney on continuing bail and ordered him to appear again later this month when a date for the hearing will then be allocated. Mrs McKinney's death was originally treated as a tragic accident during a family boating trip on Lough Erne, with the defendant adamant he had tried in vain to save her after she fell into the water.
However, police obtained statements from marina staff, expert witnesses, work colleagues of the deceased and telecommunications evidence, and a murder inquiry was launched.
McKinney was arrested and charged with murder.