A 41-YEAR-OLD man has appeared in court accused of murdering his wife while on a boating holiday on Lough Erne earlier this year.

Stephen McKinney, who has an address at The Flax Fields in Convoy, county Donegal, but is originally from Strabane, is charged with the murder of 35-year-old Lu Na McKinney on a date unknown between April 11 and 14, 2017.

He is further charged with unlawfully possessing a Class C controlled drug, namely Zopiclone, a sleeping pill.

McKinney was brought before Omagh Magistrates Court this morning, following his arrest last Thursday. His parents were sitting in the public gallery during the hearing.

Detectives had been granted a further 36 hours to question him over the course of the weekend.

A PSNI detective inspector, who said he was the investigating officer, told the court he believed he could connect the defendant to the two charges.

The prosecutor said that a bail application was being opposed as the defendant posed a flight risk and there were concerns over possible interference with witnesses.

Outlining the police objections, the inspector said that, while McKinney did not have a relevant record, he was facing a charge of a serious nature and premeditated.

The officer said the defendant was believed to have money and property in China, where his wife was originally from.

McKinney most recently visited China in October this year in order to source work, the inspector alleged.

He added that the defendant was believed to have access to funds from various sources that would facilitate flight from the jurisdiction.

The officer further alleged that McKinney had refused to allow detectives to interview the couple's two children, aged 14 and 11, who were the only other persons on the boat on the night of the alleged incident.

During cross-examination, defence counsel Martin McCann told the court that, after being taken into custody, his client had spoken to his children and advised them to speak to police if they wanted to do so.

The barrister said that the police had contact with one of the children, who had expressed the view that they did not want to talk about the matter.

Mr. McCann added that, since their father's arrest, the children were living with their grandparents and continuing to go to school.

When the barrister told the court that McKinney had “cooperated completely” with police over four days of extensive questioning, the inspector responded that the defendant had provided a “partial account”.

Applying for bail, Mr. McCann said the defendant was a local man with roots in the area and strong family connections.

The barrister said that McKinney vehemently denied responsibility for his wife's death, adding that it was an accident and should be treated as such.

He added that the case against his client was “theoretical” and completely denied.

District judge, Bernie Kelly, refused bail due to the risk of flight.

The judge added that the defendant's case would have been strengthened if his children had given a statement.

Mrs. Kelly remanded McKinney in custody to appear before Fermanagh Magistrates Court on Monday, December 11.