Stephen McKinney, the man accused of murdering his wife during a family boat trip five years ago was accused by police of sailing off knowing there was not enough life jackets onboard their cruiser.

On Wednesday his Dungannon Crown Court trial heard during police interviews, detectives put it to the now 44-year-old father of two, that this was all part of his cunning plan ... his grand scheme, to kill his wife Lu Na.

The revelation came from defence QC Martin O'Rourke during cross-examination of a director of the Manor House Marina who accepted that the cruiser hired by the McKinney family was two life jackets short.

The director said on learning this from police he asked the engineer responsible for carrying out the checks before the family set off on their cruise about the matter.

He said he was told the engineer thought one of the children was sent to collect the extra jackets from the marina reception office, but unfortunately failed to ensure it was done.

The director said he also learned the 'Boat Acceptance Certificate', which included a checklist of equipment, was not completed or signed by Mr McKinney and the engineer at the appropriate time.

He gave orders for a new certificate to be filled out, but denied this was for insurance purposes or to give the impression it had been completed.  The director said he'd offered this form to police who however, rejected it as "irrelevant".

The director further claimed the importance of the issue surrounding the certificate and the life jackets were matters that he only realised "in hindsight".

Mr O'Rourke asked the director why he'd not gone to the police to say issue of the missing life-jackets was "really our (the Marina's) fault" they were not onboard.

The defence QC said during his interviews police put it to Mr McKinney, "this was all part of his cunning plan to kill his wife, by not taking the life-jackets.

"That this was all part of his grand scheme to kill his wife. But it was in fact the Manor House Marine's fault the life-jackets weren't onboard," said Mr O'Rourke.

This is the second time that Mr McKinney originally from Strabane, and who lived with his wife and children in Convoy, Donegal, but now with an address in Castletown Square, Fintona, has gone on trial.

Last year his original trial when, like now he denies the murder of his wife between April 11 and 14 2017, had to be adjourned because of the start of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.