Stephen McKinney has lost his appeal against the murder of his wife Lu Na during a family boating-trip on Lough Erne.

Aged 45 and from Castletown Square, Fintona but previously of Convoy, Donegal, McKinney denied murdering Lu Na on April 13, 2017 while their children slept on the hired cruiser.

After a 12-week trial at Dungannon Crown Court in 2021, Madam Justice McBride told the jury an alternative verdict of manslaughter would be acceptable.

However, after just over an hour of deliberations the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict of murder.

McKinney remained impassive as he had throughout the trial, only swaying slightly, when the verdict was delivered, then drinking from a bottle of water.

The judge told him: “You have been convicted of murder. The only sentence I can impose is life imprisonment.”

His lawyers mounted an appeal earlier this year citing seven strands in which they contended the conviction was flawed.

But last week in a hearing lasting just over 20 minutes, in which all points were rejected, Mr. Justice O’Hara delivering the Court of Appeal decision stated: “Almost nothing [is found] in the case which caused any concern about the rulings given by the judge or her analysis of the evidence.

“There was nothing in this appeal which made it doubt the safety of the jury’s verdict and dismissed the appeal against conviction.”

McKinney, who watched the proceedings by video-link from Maghaberry Prison, did not react at any stage.

Throughout multiple police interviews, he maintained his innocence but claimed to have very little recall of the incident.

While acknowledging the case was circum-stantial, prosecution counsel stressed the only person who really knew what happened was McKinney himself, but the strength of evidence would draw the only conclusion that he committed the crime.

The jury agreed, unanimously finding McKinney guilty.