Stephen McCullagh, of Woodland Gardens in Lisburn, appeared at the Lisburn Magistrates' Court on Thursday, February 2 to be charged with the murder of Natalie McNally.

McCullagh was arrested on December 19 and was subsequently re-arrested on January 31, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) said.

Detectives have today, Thursday February 2nd, charged a 32 year old man with the murder of Natalie McNally in Lurgan on 18th December 2022.

— Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) February 2, 2023

Natalie McNally was fatally stabbed on the night of Sunday, December 18 in her home in Silverwood Green in Lurgan, Co Armagh. She was 15 weeks pregnant when she was murdered.

The 32-year-old "died a violent death having been stabbed a number of times, and there were signs of defensive injuries," the PSNI said when announcing its murder investigation on December 21.

On Thursday, Judge Rosemary Waters described the case as complex, adding that if police were right it had been a cold-blooded and pre-planned attack. 

She refused bail but said McCullagh could apply for bail at the High Court. 

The court heard that McCullagh was re-arrested after new evidence came to light, including CCTV, electronic, and cyber evidence. 

The CCTV evidence included footage of a man traveling on a Translink bus who was taking great care to pull his hood down and his scarf up. 

The PSNI said it would take expert work to identify the man in the CCTV footage. 

The court also heard McCullagh staged a live YouTube broadcast on the night of the murder, which appeared to show him playing Grand Theft Auto and provided him with an alibi that led to his release following his first arrest. However, cyber experts have determined that the footage was pre-recorded and played out as if it was live. 

Investigators also told the court that a taxi was taken in the direction of McCullagh's address shortly after the murder took place. 

McCullagh will remain in custody until he appears before the Craigavon Magistrates' Court via videolink on February 24. 

On Thursday, Niall McNally, Natalie's brother, shared a statement on behalf of the family welcoming the charges and thanking people for their support and the PSNI for their efforts.

Family Statement:

— Niall McNally (@IrishBlue1878) February 2, 2023