Men jailed for ‘savage’ murder of Chinese restaurateur in Antrim

Lives of Nelson and Winnie Cheung destroyed by ‘drug-addled, parasitic assailants’, judge says

Businessman Nelson Cheung was stabbed 18 times during attack.

Businessman Nelson Cheung was stabbed 18 times during attack.

 

Two Co Antrim men were on Tuesday jailed for a total of 25 years for the murder of Chinese businessman Nelson Cheung.

“The lives of two honest, hard-working people were totally destroyed by the actions of drug-addled, parasitic assailants who were motivated by the need to feed their drugs habits, ” Mr Justice Treacy said as he sentenced Christopher David Menaul (27) and Virgilio Augusto Fernando Correia (35) at Belfast Crown Court for murdering Mr Cheung and for attacking and robbing his wife Winnie

Correia, formerly of Grant Avenue in Randalstown, was told he will serve a minimum sentence of 16 years without any remission before he is considered eligible for release. Menaul, originally from Barra Street in Antrim, was given a minimum jail term of nine years.

Speaking outside the court after sentencing, Chief Inspector Eamonn Corrigan said it was “one of the most savage and senseless” murders he had ever investigated.

Mr and Mrs Cheung had just closed their takeaway restaurant on Randalstown’s Main Street in the early hours of January 8th, 2015 and were making their way home to Ballymena where their jeep was rammed by Menaul and Correia.

After Mr Cheung (64) went to speak to the driver of the car, he was pulled away by Correia who after demanding money, stabbed the “slight” pensioner 18 times. Mrs Cheung was dragged from her car by the hair, sustained serious wounds to her head and hand, and also had her handbag stolen.

After the attackers fled, Mrs Cheung was found by the emergency services, covered in blood and cradling her fatally wounded husband. Mr Justice Treacy said: “This pitiful scene at the side of a country road still haunts the Cheung family to this day. It is an image they will never put behind them.”

The Judge a said a question still haunts Mrs Cheung and she asks “why were they so cruel to a stranger who was so powerless to resist?”

He also said Mr Cheung did not live to walk his daughter down the aisle the day she got married, he never got to meet his grandchildren, and he and Winnie never got to enjoy their retirement together.

Following Mr Cheung’s murder, Winnie and their children returned to Hong Kong, from where they listened to today’s proceedings via Skype.

Also appearing beside the two killers were husband and wife Gary and Lisa Thompson, who were sentenced for the roles they played in the aftermath of the murder.

After murdering Mr Cheung Menaul and Correia went to the Thompson’s Cunningham Way home in Antrim.

The couple, who now live Felden Avenue in Newtownabbey, allowed the killers to use their home for refuge, to remove clothing worn during the incident and to clean themselves.

There was also an online attempt to buy a hot tub from eBay from their address in Antrim using one of the stolen bank cards in the hours after the murder.

Gary Thompson (34) admitted a charge of robbing Mrs Cheung of a handbag and its contents and Lisa Thompson (35) admitted handling the stolen goods.

Mr Thompson was given a sentence of seven years , half of which will be spent in prison with the remainder of the sentence on supervised licence, while Ms Thompson was given a two year sentence, which was suspended for two years.