Views of Lough Erne from Crom Cottages by Gfox228

Man in court over wife’s death

A 43-year-old man appeared in court today, charged with the murder of his wife whilst on a family holiday in County Fermanagh.

Stephen McKinney, from 8 Castletown Square, Fintona, Co Tyrone, is believed to have been responsible for his wife; Lu Na entering the water at Lough Erne as well as failing to react in a manner that could have saved her life.

The incident is said to have taken place in the early hours of the morning of 13 April 2017.

The court for this trial is presided over by Ms Justice McBride, and a jury of seven men and five women. Mr McKinney has issued a plea of not guilty.

The trial takes place at Dungannon Crown Court on the 26th of February 2020.

Prosecuting counsel Richard Weir in his initial address claimed that ““When you hear all of the evidence you would find that this was no tragic accident and you will be sure Stephen McKinney killed his wife”.

He said: “Mrs McKinney had been incapacitated after taking the sleeping drug Zopiclone,

which was obtained online by her husband who caused her to enter the water.”

Weir, upon his correspondence with police officials in regards to the timings of the police docking the McKinney boat which was four minutes then came to the conclusion that “Mr McKinney did nothing to recover his wife…from the lough”  during this time.

Counsel Weir went on to provide more evidence to support that McKinney, who he described as being “a controlling man” was guilty of his wife’s murder as he “gave conflicting accounts to police, authorities, family and friends as to how she came to be in the lough…”

Police Constable John Stone was then called forward as the First Prosecution Witness in order to shed light on the aftermath of the alarm being raised.

He claims that “I shouted at him (McKinney) twice, asking where has she gone” but “I got no reply from him”.

After describing how he came across the body, he referred to McKinney’s reaction. A simple “it’s her” was the noted response and he stated that “it certainly wasn’t very excitable.” 

Constable Stone went on to address McKinney’s behaviour further.  “On my return to the cruiser I told McKinney of his wife being taken to hospital and suggested he go with her, but he refused several times, before agreeing.”

Defence Counsel Martin O’Rourke then addressed the First Prosecution Witness in regards to the specific details of the incidents that unfolded on that early April morning. “Can you be sure the black object was indeed a body in the water?  

Constable Stone said” I was not sure until I had retrieved it.” He also said that Mrs McKinney “had been floating in an upright position in the water.” which gives clarity that it was indeed her that was spotted by the police official.

Mr McKinney is reported to have been pacing the cabin and asking “where’s Lu Na?” although the constable also noted that he was “very calm.”

The trial continues.