Northern Ireland

Two men jailed for Nelson Cheung murder

Nelson Cheung Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Nelson Cheung died after his car was forced off the road near Randalstown

Two "drug-addled, parasitic assailants" have received life sentences for killing a Co Antrim restaurant owner.

Wing Fu Cheung, known as Nelson Cheung, was stabbed 18 times during a robbery in January 2015.

Portuguese national Virgilio Correia, 35, of Grant Avenue in Randalstown, will serve at least 16 years in prison for the murder.

Christopher Menaul, 27, from Barra Street in Antrim, will serve at least nine years in jail for the murder.

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Media captionPSNI Det Ch Insp Eamonn Corrigan said it was one of the most vicious attacks he had ever experienced as a police officer

They both also received a further 12 years in prison for wounding with intent, and 12 years for robbery, to run concurrently.

The judge said the murder had been carried out by "drug-addled, parasitic assailants".

eBay hot tub

Belfast Crown Court heard that the killers needed money to pay paramilitaries over a drugs debt.

Sentencing Correia, the judge said: "Your decision to take a knife with you had a catastrophic effect and led to an orgy of violence.

"But for your actions, Mr Cheung might still be alive, enjoying the grandchildren he never got to meet because of your senseless cruelty."

Image copyright BBX
Image caption Nelson Cheung was stabbed 18 times in the "vicious" attack

Speaking after the sentencing, PSNI Det Ch Insp Eamonn Corrigan said: "It was one of the most vicious attacks I have experienced during my service as a police officer.

"The crime was absolutely reckless and I echo the judge's comments that the level of violence used was completely disproportionate to what was to be obtained - this robbery did not require the use of knives."

He said a major break in the investigation came when police identified the attempted purchase of a hot tub on online auction site eBay using one of the stolen credit cards within an hour of the murder.

This led police to an address occupied by husband and wife Gary and Lisa Thompson, who were jailed for their part in assisting the killers.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Gary William Thompson, Lisa Thompson, Christopher David Menaul and Virgilio Augusto Fernando Correia

Driving home

Ballymena man Mr Cheung, 64, ran the Double Value Chinese takeaway restaurant in Randalstown.

His wife Kam-Fung, known as Winnie, was also wounded and robbed in the attack.

The men had attacked the Cheungs as they drove home after closing their restaurant for the night.

Mrs Cheung's handbag - containing £200 in cash, bank cards, an iPad, an iPhone and several other items - was taken during the incident.

Following the murder, she returned to Hong Kong with the couple's children, from where they watched Tuesday's court proceedings.

Image caption Nelson Cheung and his wife, Winnie, were attacked as they drove home from working in their restaurant in January 2015

The judge said: "That pitiful scene at the side of a country road haunts the Cheung family to this day. It is an image they will never put behind them."

The two men also admitted wounding Mrs Cheung with intent to do her grievous bodily harm, and robbing her.

Correia was also sentenced to 12 years in prison for wounding Mrs Cheung and 12 years for robbery, to be served concurrently.

Menaul, who was described as "a secondary party" in the murder, was also given 12 years for the wounding and robbery, to be served concurrently.

Assisting offenders

Gary and Lisa Thompson, of Felden Avenue in Newtownabbey, admitted assisting offenders by allowing Correia and Menaul to take refuge in their home after the murder, as well as letting them clean themselves and remove clothing.

Image caption Husband and wife Gary and Lisa Thompson, pictured at leaving court following an earlier hearing, admitted a number of charges relating to the robbery

Both also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Gary Thompson, 34, admitted robbery for which he was sentenced to seven years.

He received three years, to be served concurrently, for the other two charges against him.

Lisa Thompson, 35, also admitted handling stolen goods.

She was sentenced to two years, suspended for two years, for each of the three counts against her, to be served concurrently.

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