12 January 2024

Man accused of Natalie McNally murder to stand trial in September

12 January 2024

The man accused of murdering Natalie McNally is set to stand trial in September.

Stephen McCullagh, 33, from Woodland Gardens, Lisburn, remains in custody after being charged with the murder of Ms McNally.

He has denied murdering his then-partner, who was 15 weeks pregnant.

Ms McNally, 32, was stabbed at her home in Silverwood Green, Lurgan, on the night of December 18, 2022.

McCullagh pleaded not guilty as he appeared in the dock at Belfast Crown Court during an arraignment hearing on Friday.

A large number of Ms McNally’s family and supporters watched on from the public gallery during the brief hearing.

The court heard the trial was likely to last between three to four weeks and the case is expected to be ready by early September.

A request was made to hear the trial in Belfast due to the case being “heavily CCTV and technology based”.

Mr Justice O’Hara said the trial will start on Monday September 9, provisionally listed for Belfast.

He said it was as fast as they could bring the trial.

“I know this will not seem very fast at all for the family and friends of Ms McNally or perhaps even for the defendant and particularly because it is now over a year since Ms McNally’s death, but a trial in September 2024 is as fast as we can arrange things to proceed,” he said.

“I will confirm that – barring any unforeseen developments – a trial will start on Monday September 9. It will most probably be in Belfast but that can be confirmed later in the year and I will review the case in March.”

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