Police arrive to scene to find woman unresponsive while on anniversary celebration with husband.

By Joshua Henry

43-year-old Stephen McKinney from 8 Castletown Square, Fintona, Co. Tyrone, is on trial for the alleged murder of his wife Lu La McKinney

The incident took place when they were celebrating their 14th Wedding Anniversary on a hired cruiser on Lough Erne.

The Prosecution Solicitor Richard Weir QC made an opening statement to Dungannon Crown Court stating, “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”.

The solicitor described McKinney as a “controlling husband” and alleged that Ms McKinney had talked about divorcing him and “taking the children back to China”, which he would not have approved of.

The solicitor alleged to the court on [26th February 2020] “Ms McKinney had been incapacitated after taking the sleeping drug Zopiclone, which was obtained online by her husband who caused her to enter the water.”

 “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”, the solicitor continued.

The Solicitor further alleged that in the four minutes it took the police to arrive, McKinney “did nothing to recover his wife, a non-swimmer, from the lough”.

“Mr McKinney 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”, the solicitor alleged.

In his closing statement the solicitor said, “Mr McKinney 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”.

The First Prosecution Witness, Police Constable John Stone said he had noticed a “black object in the water” as he approached the hired cruiser.

At this point, Constable Stone identified Mr McKinney whom he shouted at twice but did not get a reply until he got closer when he identified the “black object” to be his wife.

To retrieve the body, Constable Stone noted that they had to manoeuvre their boat, so he was able to “get on the jetty and jump on the McKinney cruiser”.

“So using a boat hook from the police launch, I was able to grab on to the hood of the object, before being able to reach down and get hold of the body”, Constable Stone said.

After finding no vital signs and beginning CPR, Mrs McKinney was taken to hospital. Despite refusing “several times”, McKinney agreed to go to hospital with his wife, Constable Stone alleged.

The Defence Solicitor Martin O’Rourke QC asked Constable Stone:” Can you be sure the black object was indeed a body in the water?

Constable John Stone responded that he did not know until he had retrieved the body.

Constable John Stone said McKinney was repeatedly asking “Where’s Lu Na” but was “very calm”.

The trial Continues


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