A man jailed for murdering his wife on a family boat trip is mounting a legal bid to have the conviction overturned, it has been learned.

tephen McKinney (45) is currently serving a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison for killing Lu Na McKinney while on holiday in Lough Erne, Co Fermanagh in April 2017.

But a new team of defense lawyers has identified seven potential grounds for appeal in an attempt to have the guilty verdict declared unsafe.

The body of Ms McKinney (35) was recovered from the water near a jetty on Devenish Island, where the couple were moored on a cruise with their two young children.

Her husband, from Fintona in County Tyrone, has always denied the murder.

McKinney claimed she fell in the water while on deck checking the moorings and he tried to save her.

But last year a jury at Dungannon Crown Court found him guilty of murdering his wife after accepting the prosecution’s case that it was not a boating accident.

McKinney has now tasked a new legal team with seeking permission to challenge the conviction.

Lawyers Brian McCartney QC and Damien Halleron are preparing arguments seeking a full hearing.

Seeking more time to prepare their case, Mr McCartney told the Court of Appeal that it would have to consider the merits of seven grounds of challenge.

“One concerns the negative publicity regarding media reports of the defendant’s decision not to testify,” he revealed.

The death of one of the first defense attorneys during the trial was raised as another potential issue.

Prosecution barrister Richard Weir QC raised no objections to Mr McCartney being given more time.

“He did not exaggerate the complexity and length of this case,” Weir admitted.

Granting the requested extension, Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan stressed: “I will grant a little extra time, but aware that we have to get things done.”

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