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Tragic Lu Na predicted own cruise boat murder

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MURDERED: Lu Na McKinney

MURDERED: Lu Na McKinney

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MURDERED: Lu Na McKinney

Murder victim Lu Na McKinney predicted her death from drowning at the hands of her domineering husband.

In conversations with friends before being killed, she recounted another case where a woman had gone missing from a cruise ship, saying if anything happened to her, “it would be Stephen”.

The damning evidence was contained in online chat logs found on phones and computers belonging to Stephen McKinney, who was caged for 20 years last Wednesday for her April 2017 murder.

They also showed how the Strabane man was verbally abusive to Lu Na (35) about their sex life and forced her to take part in threesomes with other women.

When McKinney discovered his wife was planning a divorce after they returned to Donegal from a period living in China, he arranged what he thought was the perfect murder.

Using a Lough Erne pleasure boat holiday as cover, the 45-year-old drugged Lu Na with sleeping pills then pushed her into the water, pretending that she had slipped and drowned.

But his plan was riddled with inconsistencies, which led a jury to convict him with murder after a lengthy trial.

Among these were the online chat logs in which Lu Na astonishingly predicted her death. The couple married in 2003 and had two children, moving between Ireland and China before settling in Donegal in 2016.

Skype chats from two years earlier, when they were temporarily separated, show the level of coercive control McKinney had over his wife.

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JAILED: Wife killer Stephen McKinney was caged for 20 years

JAILED: Wife killer Stephen McKinney was caged for 20 years

JAILED: Wife killer Stephen McKinney was caged for 20 years

They reveal how he was verbally abusive, blaming Lu Na for their separation and then encouraging her to take part in threesomes as a way to make it up to him.

This was touched upon in a bail hearing in 2018, when a prosecutor said: “This [the threesomes] is eventually agreed [to] by Lu Na, saying she will change and do whatever McKinney wishes if he will come back to the family.”

The court was told that the online chats showed McKinney displaying “controlling and degrading treatment” toward his wife and manipulating her.

Sick of being bullied, Lu Na allegedly had an affair with a college lecturer while living in Donegal and spoke to a solicitor about getting a divorce.

It was this determination to break free that sent possessive McKinney over the edge and led to her murder.

Giving at evidence at his trial, the divorce solicitor who Lu Na spoke to produced a note from their meeting which read: “The marriage is over for Lu Na and she is very unhappy.”

He also revealed she told him: “He [McKinney] blamed me for starting all the arguments and the things he was doing was because I made him.

“He asked me to watch him having sex with someone. I thought he was just trying to hurt me and I didn’t believe it.

“After talking to him on Skype, I realised he wasn’t kidding. I saw him with that girl.”

The court then heard how mean McKinney forced his wife to get a job in a Chinese takeaway, confiscating £80 per week from her wages because he had to look after their kids.

The high-security Maghaberry Prison where he will be locked up for the next 20 years is already home to several wife killers, including dentist Colin Howell, violent ex-soldier Trevor McCandless and jealous academic Gerard O’Kane.

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk


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