Lu Na McKinney : Husband on trial for Boating Accident

By Kate McGowan

The trial has begun for a man accused of murdering his wife Lu Na McKinney during a family boating trip in Co Fermanagh in 2017.

Stephen McKinney (43) appeared at Dungannon Crown Court on February 26th. The father of two has been accused of murdering his wife Lu Na McKinney almost three years ago, during a Lough Erne cruise to celebrate their 14th wedding anniversary.

Mr McKinney, although originally from Strabane lived with his wife and children in Flaxfield, Convoy, Co Donegal. He now resides at an address in Castlerown Square, Fintona, Co Tyrone.

In an opening statement, prosecuting QC Richard Weir described the defendant as a “controlling man, tired of his wife, not prepared to accept her divorcing him”. He addressed the jury of seven men and five women, stating that after hearing the evidence he was confident they would find, “this was no tragic accident and you will be sure Stephen McKinney killed his wife.”

He said, “Her body was recovered from Fermanagh’s Lower Lough Erne near Devenish Island within 40 minutes of her husband raising the alarm in the early hours of April 13th, 2017.”

Police described the weather that night as good – a moonlight night with calm waters and no rain.

Weir stated, “When police arrived on the scene, during the four minutes it took them to dock, Mr McKinney did nothing to recover his wife, a non- swimmer, from the lough”

The jury also heard how Mr McKinney is alleged to have given conflicting accounts to police, authorities, family and friends as to how his wife
came to be in the water after she is claimed to have gone to secure the mooring ropes on the rented 29 ft cruiser.

Weir alleged, “Months before her death, Ms McKinney had talked of divorce and of taking the children back to China. something that he (Mr McKinney) would not have wanted.”

He said, “The case was a circumstantial one where the strands of evidence were sufficient, when taken together.”

Mr McKinney is said to have made two emergency 999 calls, in which he claimed his wife had just ended up in the water.

The court heard from witness, Police Constable John Stone who was on board the police boat which was the first to arrive at the scene. Constable Stone stated he asked Mr McKinney, where his wife had entered the water, to which he received no reply.

Constable Stone, told the court after boarding the hire boat he could see a black object in the water. He said, “Visibility was good. I could see it clearly.”

The defendant was described as being “fairly quiet” at this stage.

It was later revealed the constable confirmed he could not be sure that the black object he had seen in the water was a body until it had been recovered. He also said Miss McKinney was in an upright position in the water.

Mr McKinney, denies murder and instead claims his wife drowned in a terrible accident.

The trial continues.