Man whose wife 'drowned' in Lough Erne charged with her murder ahead of trial

Man whose wife 'drowned' in Lough Erne charged with her murder ahead of trial

THE husband of a woman who died in what was initially believed to be a tragic boating accident on Lough Erne last year is to stand trial for her murder.

Lu Na McKinney, 35, died after entering the water near Devenish Island, Co. Fermanagh sometime between April 11 and April 14, 2017.

Her husband, 42-year-old Stephen McKinney is charged with murder as well as unlawful possession of the Class C drug Zopiclone.

Mrs McKinney was originally from China, where her Strabane-born husband is believed to have money and property.

Appearing in court in Enniskillen on Wednesday, Mr McKinney was asked if he wished to say anything in response to the charges or to call any witnesses.

He replied "not at this stage", reports BBC News.

Mr McKinney, of Flax Fields in Convoy, Co. Donegal – but who is currently remanded to an address at Castletown Square in Fintona, Co. Tyrone – was released on his own bail of £500 to appear at Dungannon Crown Court for arraignment on January 15, 2019.

Conditions of his bail include a ban on leaving Northern Ireland and contacting any witnesses.

Reporting restrictions

The charges against Mr McKinney came to light after reporting restrictions banning coverage of the case were lifted recently.

He was initially arrested and charged with murder within days of his wife's death and denied bail, but was released by the High Court after a judge ruled that the case against him was circumstantial.

At the time, the judge explained there was no evidence that Mr McKinney had tendencies towards random violence.

The couple, who married in 2003, lived in a number of areas around Ireland before settling in Co. Donegal.

Mrs McKinney's death was initially treated as a tragic accident before murder charges were brought against the defendant, despite his claims that he tried in vain to save his wife after she fell into the water.