Lu Na McKinney: Murder trial hears from first police on scene

Published
Image source, Pacemaker
Image caption,
Stephen McKinney denies murdering his wife Lu Na McKinney

The trial of a man accused of murdering his wife on a boating holiday has heard from the police officer who helped to pull the woman out of Lough Erne.

Lu Na McKinney, a mother of two, was found in the water off Devenish Island in the early hours of 13 April 2017.

Her 44-year-old husband, Stephen McKinney, from Castletown Square in Fintona, County Tyrone, denies murder.

The officer said that when he arrived at the scene he had to ask Mr McKinney twice where she had entered the water.

The trial at Dungannon Crown Court has already heard how the couple and their two young children were on board a hired cruiser during an Easter holiday at Lower Lough Erne in County Fermanagh.

When Mr McKinney phoned for help, telling the emergency services his wife was in the water, two police officers from Enniskillen Police Station travelled to the scene on a police boat.

Giving evidence, the first officer said that as they drew close to the family's moored cruiser he could see "a black object" in the water.

He also saw a man standing at the rear of the vessel and called out to him but got no reply at first.

"I shouted to the man, asking him where she had entered the water... where did she go in?" the officer told the court.

"I had to repeat it to get an answer."

He said the man, Mr McKinney, was wrapped in a red blanket and was talking on his phone.

Image source, PAcemaker
Image caption,
Lu Na McKinney drowned in Lough Erne in 2017

The police boat was manoeuvred to allow the officer to board the cruiser and when he went to the rear he "could see the black object in the water".

"I could see it was a coat, a black coat with a fur-trimmed hood," he said.

"I saw what appeared to be a hand just under the surface of the water... I used the boat hook from the police boat to bring this coat towards me... it was a person".

The officer said an RNLI lifeboat then arrived and one of the crew joined him on the cruiser and "assisted me to remove the casualty from the water".

"It was a female around 30 years of age of Asian origin and I believed clothed in a pair of pyjamas - she was quite pale," he told the court.

Mrs McKinney was placed on the jetty were "rescue breaths" were administered together with oxygen from a tank and mask.

The team then started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the officer said he "noticed there were bubbles" coming from her mouth.

Mrs McKinney was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The police witness said he advised Mr McKinney he should also go to the hospital for a check-up as he had been in the water.

The accused refused several times before agreeing to do so, the court heard.

The officer said he asked for an ambulance for Mr McKinney because he felt he was showing signs of shock and hypothermia.

Later the court later heard from the driver of the police boat who described Mr McKinney repeatedly asking: "Where's Lu Na?"

He told Mr McKinney that he was "in shock" and advised him to change out of his wet clothing.

The officer said that when Mr McKinney asked about the whereabouts of his wife repeatedly, he had also said: "Lu Na never leaves without her phone."

However, the witness said he could not make much sense out of what Mr McKinney was saying.

The trial continues.