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Fresh calls for Natalie McNally suspect’s ‘alibi’ video to be removed from YouTube

As of Wednesday, it had approximately 114,000 views – with the majority of views having taken place following the recent court case

Murder victim Natalie and suspect Stephen McCullagh

Natalie McNally

Suspect Stephen McCullagh

Ciaran O'NeillSunday World

New demands have been made for the removal of a YouTube video previously used as an alibi by Natalie McNally’s alleged killer which has now been watched more than 100,000 times.

The YouTube video uploaded on December 18 by Natalie’s partner Stephen McCullagh (32), who uses the name votesaxon07 on his channel, remains on the video website.

As of Wednesday, it had approximately 114,000 views – with the majority of views having taken place following details of the video being highlighted at the recent court case.

There have been around 1,700 comments left under the video, with some of them calling for it to be removed given its relevance to the investigation into Ms McNally’s murder.

A YouTube spokesperson said courts and government agencies around the world regularly send them legal requests in relation to videos.

“We have established processes in place to review these requests closely to determine if content should be removed because it violates an applicable law or our policies,” the spokesperson said.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “As a matter of course in investigations of this nature, detectives will secure a Preservation Order for any social media sites they deem relevant.”

Clips from McCullagh’s video are also being shared on YouTube, but one channel has removed all its content featuring the alleged killer.

Val Verde Broadcasting had previously collaborated with the Lisburn man on movie reviews. However, a spokesperson for the company said: “We do not want our channel to become a place for conjecture or aggressive comments.

"This is why we have decided to remove all content featuring Stephen until his guilt/innocence is established.”

When he was arrested on December 19 in connection with the killing of the Co Armagh woman, McCullagh told police he had been taking part in a six-hour livestream on YouTube on the night she was killed.

Suspect Stephen McCullagh

Ms McNally (32), who was 15 weeks pregnant with her first child, who her family have named Dean, was stabbed and beaten at her home at Silverwood Green in Lurgan on Sunday, December 18.

Her body was found by McCullagh when he called to the house the following evening.

After he was questioned, police checked out McCullagh’s alibi and found the lengthy livestream on his YouTube channel.

It all appeared to have been broadcast live, as he said, and McCullagh was eliminated as a suspect in the police investigation.

However, it emerged at a court hearing last week that the 32-year-old’s story unravelled after police dug deeper into his alibi as a result of new evidence. McCullagh was subsequently rearrested and charged with Ms Nally’s murder.

McCullagh did not speak during the initial court hearing but the court was told he denied the charge.

The court heard McCullagh staged the live broadcast of him on the night of the murder, with the footage appearing to show him playing the video game Grand Theft Auto for six hours.

However, the police officer leading the murder investigation told the court that extensive technical examination of McCullagh’s computer devices by cyber experts had indicated the YouTube footage was pre-recorded and played out as if it was live.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness told the court that on the livestream McCullagh tells his 36,000 subscribers that he is unable to interact with them live due to technical issues.

Mr McGuinness told district judge Rosie Watters that while McCullagh denies involvement in Ms McNally’s murder, he admitted during questioning last week the purported livestream was pre-recorded by him days earlier.

“Mr McCullagh has given us a written statement essentially and in that written statement he has acceded that that livestream was not live and was in fact recorded by him on the 13th into the 14th of December and that he had streamed it on the night of Sunday the 18th,” Mr McGuinness said.

The court was told McCullagh was initially arrested in the wake of the murder but then ruled out as a suspect on the basis of the alleged livestream alibi.

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