Tyne & Wear

Shiney Row burning body murder pair guilty

Quyen Ngoc Nguyen Image copyright Family Handout/Northumbria Police
Image caption Quyen Ngoc Nguyen moved to the UK from Vietnam in 2010 and helped her sister run a nail salon

Two convicted killers have been found guilty of murdering a woman who was found dead in a burning car.

They were detained after the body of Quyen Ngoc Nguyen was discovered in Shiney Row, near Sunderland in August.

Stephen Unwin, 40, of Houghton-le-Spring and William McFall, 51, who is from Northern Ireland but lived in Blackpool, had denied murder and rape.

Unwin was found guilty of murder and rape, while McFall was also convicted of murder, but cleared of rape.

The pair first met in jail while serving life terms for separate murders, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

The jury of eight women and four men took four hours to reach their verdict.

Mr Justice Morris said a "whole life" sentence would be considered when the pair return to court after Easter to be sentenced.

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Stephen Unwin (left) and William McFall had denied all the charges against them

The court was told the pair lured her to an address in Shiney Row, where she was held captive and tortured into revealing her bank card PINs.

The men then dumped her in a car before setting it alight.

A Home Office pathologist told the court he could not say "with certainty" whether she was alive when they put her in the car, but the fire was the "most likely the cause of death".

Ms Nguyen's sister Quyhn Ngoc Nguyen wept in the public gallery, holding a framed photo of her 28-year-old sibling, as she waited for the verdict.

She said: "I believe that if these two people were released at some point in the future, then definitely some innocent people could be harmed.

"I think they should never be released, they are evil."

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption CCTV images showed Unwin using Ms Nguyen's bank card at a Co-op store

Firefighters discovered Ms Nguyen's badly burned body in the back of her Audi after it had been torched beside allotments.

The court was told that after they were released from prison the pair got back in touch and McFall started working for Unwin, who maintained properties for landlords.

It was through his work that Unwin met Ms Nguyen, who had moved to Killingworth, North Tyneside from Vietnam in 2010, and was helping her sister run a nail salon in Gateshead.

They planned their attack on the 5ft victim and Unwin tricked her into coming into his home, where McFall was waiting. She was then subjected to what the court heard was an "unimaginable four hour ordeal".

The jury heard the killers had met at HMP Swaleside in Kent and got in touch via Facebook after they were both released on licence.

McFall had murdered an 86-year-old woman with a hammer in Greenisland, Carrickfergus, in May 1996, when she disturbed him during a burglary.

He admitted murder and was jailed in April 1997 and released on licence in October 2010.

The court heard he also had previous convictions for violence and firearms offences.

Det Insp Ed Small, of Northumbria Police, said: "This was one of the most horrific cases that I have had to investigate in my 25 years working as a police officer.

"William John McFall and Stephen Unwin had a history of targeting vulnerable people for personal gain and that is exactly what they did on this occasion."

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