Events unfolded when Stephen McKinney age 43, of Castletown Square Co. Tyrone, originally from Strabane, phoned 999 twice. His wife had entered the waters at Lough Erne. The incident happened in the early hours of 13 April 2017, the night of the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary.
Mr. McKinney appeared before the Dungannon Crown Court for the opening day of trial [26.02.20]. He has been charged with the murder of Lu Na McKinney, aged 35, near Devenish Island, Lough Erne. Mr. McKinney has plead not guilty to the charge of murder.
The opening day of trial saw statements from the Prosecution followed by the first Prosecuting witness.
Prior to the incident, Prosecuting Counsel Richard Weir QC stated that Ms. McKinney “had talked of divorce and of taking the children back to China”. According to Wier, Mr McKinney “was a controlling man,” who did not want to “accept her divorcing him”.
Weir told the court that “Mr McKinney gave conflicting accounts to police, authorities, family and friends”.
While the prosecution stated that the “case against Mr. McKinney was a circumstantial one” they claimed that the sufficient strands of evidence support their case.
Judge Justice McBride was told by the prosecution that Ms. McKinney was found “incapacitated” with a sleeping drug in her system. Weir accused Mr McKinney of obtaining the sleeping drug online and causing his wife “to enter the water.”
Weir went on to allege that while the police arrived on the scene, Mr. McKinney “did nothing to recover his wife”.
The court was told that Ms. McKinney’s body was recovered within 40 minutes of her husband raising the alarm.
The first prosecution witness came from Police constable John Stone. Stone was questioned by Defence solicitor Martin O’Rourke QC.
Stone told the judge that he got “no reply” from Mr McKinney when he asked twice where his wife had entered the water. He claimed Mr. McKinney told the police “she’s here… or… she’s there.”
Stone stated that could see a black object in the water very close to the stern of the boat, he stated that Mr McKinney quietly said, “it’s her”. When asked by the defence solicitor, Stone stated that he “was not sure” if the object in the water was a body until he had retrieved it.
The judge was told that Stone “could not reach” Ms McKinney’s body by hand and had to use a boat hook from the police launch to grab her hood.
Upon finding Ms. McKinney, Stone stated that he “checked for vital signs but found none and then I began CPR.” The court was told that when Ms. McKinney was being taken to hospital, Mr McKinney “refused several times” to accompany her.
Throughout the ordeal, Mr McKinney remained “very calm”, according to Stone at the conclusion of his statement.