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Natalie McNally: Family ask for privacy to grieve after six-week ‘quest for justice’

Stephen McCullagh (32) from Woodland Gardens in Lisburn was charged with the murder of 32-year-old Natalie

Parents of Natalie McNally, Noel and Bernie McNally at home with Natalie’s dog River on January 9th, 2023 (Photo by Kevin Scott for Belfast Telegraph)© Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Garrett HarganBelfast Telegraph

Natalie McNally’s family have welcomed the latest development in the PSNI’s murder investigation as they requested some privacy to grieve as a family.

On Thursday, Stephen McCullagh (32) from Woodland Gardens in Lisburn appeared in court charged with the murder of 32-year-old Natalie.

Ms McNally was 15 weeks pregnant when she was stabbed in her home at Silverwood Green in Lurgan on December 18.

Appearing at Lisburn Magistrates’ Court McCullagh was denied bail.

In a statement shared by the PSNI, the McNally family said: “Over the past six weeks we have opened our home and our hearts to the media, politicians, church leaders, campaign groups and the wider public.

“We did so in our determined quest for justice for our Natalie and baby Dean.

“We have also used our platform to call for an immediate end to violence against women and girls.

“We cannot thank you all enough for your steadfast support that has carried us through.

“We welcome the latest development in the case. Information remains key and we continue to call for any and all information to be brought forward to the PSNI or Crimestoppers.

“We would now request some privacy to allow us to grieve privately as a family.”

During Thursday’s court hearing, Ms McNally’s parents Noel and Bernie and brothers Declan, Niall and Brendan were in court as the evidence was outlined.

It was outlined how McCullagh, who has a YouTube channel, staged the live broadcast on the night of the killing, with footage appearing to show him playing the video game Grand Theft Auto.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness told the court that extensive technical examination of his devices by cyber experts has indicated the footage was pre-recorded and played out as if it was live.

Defence barrister Craig Patton questioned the evidence against his client as he challenged the basis upon which the police connected him to the charge.

Applying for bail, Mr Patton added: “Essentially, what the evidence seems to all hang on is that this man did not live-stream when he said he live-streamed.”

Refusing bail, district judge Watters said: “I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a case that is so complex. And if the police are right, this was a cold-blooded attack which was meticulously planned with absolutely tragic consequences and, in all the circumstances, I also am concerned about the issues which the prosecution are concerned with.

“The risk of further offending - if he can carry out an attack like this, if the police case is right, then who knows what else he is capable of?”

McCullagh was remanded in custody to appear before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on February 24 via video link.

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