A YouTuber staged a fake livestream of himself playing "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" so that he would have an alibi for the murder of his pregnant wife, prosecutors said on Thursday.
Prosecutors accused Stephen McCullagh of setting up the stream to divert suspicion from murdering Natalie McNally, who was 15 weeks pregnant when she was killed on December 18, 2022.
McCullagh Used Livestream as Alibi
According to the reports, the court was told that McCullagh's livestream ran for six hours on the same night McNally was stabbed to death in her Lurgan, Northern Ireland, home. The Guardian said that a senior police investigator, Neil McGuinness, told the court that technical analysis determined that the footage was pre-recorded.
The court also heard that McCullagh left his phone in McNally's family home after the killing to record audio and figure out whether they suspected him, the outlet noted.
McCullagh Told Viewers He Couldn't Respond on Live Chat Due to Technical Snag
In the stream, McCullagh claimed several times that the video was live but said he could not respond to the video's live chat due to a technical glitch.
"He spoke throughout, continually, but did not speak to the people who were responding live," said Detective Chief Inspector Neil McGuinness. "He did not interact with anyone at the time and he essentially formed a monologue with his own music and commentary of the game. We became aware that you could pre-record and stream as if live."
McCullagh Admitted Stream was Pre-Recorded
The Belfast Telegraph reported that McCullagh later admitted that the stream was a deception, giving a statement to police that it was recorded on December 13 or December 14, around four days before the killing.
However, McCullagh continued to maintain his innocence. In his statement, the YouTuber, who has tens of thousands of followers, denied any involvement in his partner's murder — insisting he was at home, was drinking and had fallen asleep.
In the hearing, prosecutors accused McCullagh of a "sophisticated, calculated and cool-headed plot" and said he was "capable of deception beyond imagination," per the Guardian.