Sunday World Newsletter
Sign up for the latest news and updates
YouTuber Stephen McCullagh (32) tells his 37,000 subscribers that he is unable to interact with them live due to technical issues
A man charged with murdering Natalie McNally allegedly continued to interact with her family in the weeks after the murder.
Stephen McCullagh (32), of Woodland Gardens, Lisburn, is accused of the murder of Ms McNally on December 18.
He appeared at Lisburn Magistrates Court on Thursday morning.
Ms McNally was killed in her home in Lurgan.
During a remand hearing that lasted almost an hour, the court heard McCullagh, who has a YouTube channel, staged a live broadcast on the night of the murder, with footage appearing to show him playing the video game Grand Theft Auto for six hours.
A senior detective 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.
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness noted that on the footage McCullagh tells his 37,000 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 Natalie McNally's murder he has conceded in police interview that the purported live stream was pre-recorded by him days earlier.
“At the conclusion of the interview process last night or early this morning, after consultation with his legal representative, Mr McCullagh has given us a written statement essentially and in that written statement he has acceded that that live stream 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,” he told the court.
The court was told McCullagh was initially arrested in the wake of the killing but then ruled out a suspect on the basis of the alleged livestream alibi.
He said McCullagh, who works part-time for the Belfast Telegraph, then went on to interact with the McNally family in the weeks that followed.
He claimed the accused left his phone in the home of McNally's parents and recorded 40 minutes of audio.
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness said he believed this was McCullagh attempting to determine if the family suspected him of involvement in the killing.
McCullagh watched proceedings via video link from a police custody suite. He was remanded in custody to appear before Craigavon Magistrates' Court on February 24 via video link.
Ms McNally’s parents Noel and Bernie and brothers Declan, Niall and Brendan were in court as this evidence was outlined.