Tyne & Wear

Coroner to look at "lost opportunities" in burning murder

Quyen Ngoc Nguyen Image copyright Family Handout/Northumbria Police
Image caption Quyen Ngoc Nguyen was a 28-year-old mother of two

There may have been a "lost opportunity" to prevent the brutal murder of a woman by two convicted killers, a coroner has said.

The body of Quyen Ngoc Nguyen, 28, was found in a burning car at Shiney Row, near Sunderland, in August last year.

Stephen Unwin and William McFall, were jailed in April for her murder.

Sunderland senior coroner Derek Winter said he would look at the possibility of "failings" by police or the probation service.

This centres on whether chances were missed to recall Unwin or McFall to prison for breaking the terms of their release for previous offences.

Mr Winter said: "Northumbria Police has indicated there may have been occasions when possible breaches of license were not reported on.

"If the evidence were to point in that direction then the possibility of recall to prison may have been a lost opportunity to prevent Quyen's death."

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Stephen Unwin (left) and William McFall were give whole-life terms

Mr Winter also told Ms Nguyen's family he was looking into whether lessons can be learned from her death.

He is yet to decide whether to stage a full inquest into the murder but a further hearing will be held in December.

During the trial at Newcastle Crown Court, the jury was told Unwin and McFall held nail technician Ms Nguyen captive and tortured her into revealing her bank card PINs after luring her to Unwin's home.

Unwin had been released on licence in December 2012 having battered a pensioner to death during a break-in on Christmas Day 1998 in Houghton-le-Spring.

McFall was released on licence in October 2010 after killing a pensioner with a hammer when she disturbed him breaking into her home in Greenisland, Northern Ireland, in May 1996.

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