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Lu Na McKinney murder accused husband’s story ‘does not add up’

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Stephen McKinney at an earlier court appearance

Stephen McKinney at an earlier court appearance

Stephen McKinney at an earlier court appearance

A man accused of murdering his wife on a family boating holiday is the only witness to what happened on the night of her death, a court has been told.

Prosecutor Richard Weir QC made the point in his closing speech at the Dungannon Crown Court trial of Stephen McKinney (43), who is alleged to have killed his wife Lu Na (35) on Lough Erne on April 13, 2017.

Mr Weir accepted the case was circumstantial and that the Crown could not say precisely  how Mrs McKinney, who was pulled from the water, had met her death or what her  husband had allegedly done. 

The reason for this, he said, was that the defendant is the only eyewitness in the case.

The prosecutor told the court, however, that guilty verdicts had been reached in murder cases where there was no body and no cause of death established.

According to Crown, the defendant is a controlling man who killed his wife because he was worried she would  move to China with their children.

Two 999 calls he made on the night of his wife’s death were played to the jury.  Mr Weir described these recordings as extraordinary in tone, but also in terms of the explanation offered for how Mrs McKinney had come to be in the water. 

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According to the prosecutor, the first call placed husband and wife at a jetty on the lough, with Mrs McKinney apparently falling into the lough.

Mr Weir asked the jury why her husband claimed to have jumped in the water to rescue her when there was a lifebelt and a boat hook to hand.

He went on to claim that there were discrepancies in the defendant’s account of how his wife had ended up in the water .

 These included that she fell from the jetty, that he saw her fall from the boat sideways, that he saw her fall from the back of the cruiser and that he did not see her at all.

He also claimed he had only heard a splash and a call for help, with no scream.

Mr Weir said since the defendant was the only eyewitness to what had happened, it was vital that he explain any differences in his account.

 He added that none had been offered and that this could not be passed off as confusion in a man who had lost his wife.

 The defence team will make their final submission today.


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