Donegal man accused of murdering wife

A Donegal man has been accused of murdering his wife on their 14th wedding anniversary.

Stephen McKinney, 43, with an address in Castletown Square, Fintona, Co Tyrone, appeared in Dungannon Crown Court on the 26 February. He stands accused of murdering his wife Lu Na McKinney, 35.

The 35-year old’s body was recovered by police constable John Stone with the help of the RNLI.

John Stone told the crown court of the night that the 35-year-old Chinese national died in the waters of Lough Erne after taking sleeping tablets. The police officer told the prosecution counsel that the night was calm with no rain, he had seen the defendant standing wrapped in a red blanket while on the phone.

Stone said that he shouted to McKinney twice, asking where Lu Na had gone in. The police officer said he “got no reply from him”.

The officer said he had seen a black object in the water close to the cruiser the McKinney’s were on. Along with the crew from the RNLI and the use of a boat hook from the police launch, the Lady Grey, they successfully retrieved the woman’s body. 

“We were able first to lift Mrs McKinney onto the cruiser diving platform, and then to the jetty. I checked her for vital signs but found none and then I began CPR” Stone told the court.

Stephen McKinney’s defence counsel, Martin O’Rourke QC, asked the officer if he was sure that the black object was a body. John Stone answered, “I was not sure until I had retrieved it,” and that she had been floating in an upright position in the water. He also added that the defendant was “very calm”.

After Lu Na was rushed to hospital, the officer suggested that McKinney should go with his wife. “He refused several times before agreeing,” the officer told the court.

The prosecution counsel, Richard Weir QC told the trial judge, Ms Justice McBride, that the father of two was a “controlling man, tired of his wife, not prepared to accept her divorcing him and all the consequences that would entail for him and their children”. 

Mr Weir said that two 999 calls had been made by Stephen McKinney, he said his wife “has just ended up in the water”. The prosecution counsel also gave details of McKinney’s accounts to various parties. He told the court that, “Mr Kinney gave conflicting accounts to police, authorities, family and friends as to how she came to be in the lough, after she had allegedly went to secure the mooring ropes on the cruiser.”

Stephen McKinney pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder.

The trail is currently ongoing.

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