Lu Na McKinney: Trial of man accused of murdering his wife begins

Stephen McKinney, 44, denies murdering his wife. Credit: Pacemaker

The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife during a family boating trip four years ago has heard that he was controlling - and not willing to accept that she might divorce him.

Lu Na McKinney died in 2017 after entering the water near Devenish Island in Fermanagh.

During the prosecutions opening statement, the jury of eight men and four women heard that Stephen McKinney claimed his wife slipped and fell in after going to check the ropes on the crusier and he tried to rescue her.

But the prosecution claimed this was not a tragic boating accident and Mr McKinney killed his wife.

The jury heard how Mr McKinney, 44, told police "I tried my best to save her she can't swim. I jumped in straight way. I had a hold of her but she kept pulling my down. I tried to look under the water but she was gone".

Police arrived at the scene around 30 minutes after the father of two called 999 for help in the early hours of the 13th of April.

The court was told the weather was good and that there was no rain and a full moon.

When emergency crews arrived at the scene, they noticed Lu Na's body.

The 35-year-old was recovered from the water with a boat hook and attempts were made to save her but she later died.

Toxicology reports show Lu Na had taken sleeping pills and that the amount in her system was above the therapeutic range.

The jury heard this would have possibly impaired her ability to respond adequately.

The prosecution told the jury Stephen McKinney did see his wife in the water and didn't act.

"We say he is a controlling man who got tired of his wife and was not willing to accept she might divorce him. This is not a tragic boating accident. We say Mr McKinney caused Lu Na to enter the water - that he killed his wife."

Stephen McKinney originally from Strabane but with an address at Castletown Square in Fintona denies murder.

  • Video report by Sara O'Kane: