Northern Ireland

Lu Na McKinney: Trial of man accused of killing wife on boat starts

Boat at jetty in Lough Erne Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The McKinney family had hired a boat for a break on Lough Erne

A man accused of murdering his wife during a boating holiday in County Fermanagh has gone on trial.

Lu Na McKinney, 35, died after entering the water at Devenish Island on Lough Erne in 2017.

Her husband Stephen McKinney, 43, denies murder on a date unknown between 11 and 14 April that year.

The couple, who lived in Convoy in County Donegal, had hired a cruiser with their two children for a three-night Easter break.

Mr McKinney, who lives in Castletown Square in Fintona, County Tyrone, but is originally from Strabane in the same county, claimed his wife had drowned in a tragic accident.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Stephen McKinney denies murdering his wife Lu Na McKinney

He told police she had fallen into the water after going to check the mooring ropes in the early hours of the morning.

He said his wife could not swim and he had jumped into the water.

He told a police officer that he had "tried my best to save her" but that she kept pulling him down.

Opening the prosecution case, a QC said it was not a tragic accident and Mr McKinney had caused his wife to enter the water.

He said she would have been incapacitated having taken a number of sleeping tablets obtained by her husband on the internet.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption Lu Na McKinney died after entering the water at Devenish Island

The lawyer said Mr McKinney had given conflicting accounts of how his wife had come to be in the lough.

He said the weather that night was good, with little wind, no rain, calm water and a full moon.

The prosecution lawyer claimed Mr McKinney was "a controlling man who was tired of his wife but was not prepared to accept her divorcing him and all the consequences that would entail".

He told the jury that although it was a circumstantial case they would "be sure that Stephen McKinney killed his wife" after hearing the strands of evidence.

The jury of seven men and five women at Dungannon Crown Court have been told they will hear evidence from more than 100 witnesses.

The trial is expected to last for eight weeks.