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'A brutal and senseless attack': Killers of Chinese restaurant owner Nelson Cheung jailed

The attackers followed the couple the night before on a “dry run”, police said.

nelson Source: PSNI

TWO PEOPLE HAVE been handed down life sentences for killing Co Antrim restaurant owner Nelson Cheung.

Four people in total have been sentenced over what police called the “brutal and senseless attack” which saw the 65-year-old stabbed 18 times during a robbery in January 2015.

The businessman’s wife Winnie was also assaulted and robbed in the violent incident.

The couple’s vehicle was rammed off the road as they drove home from work shortly after midnight. The attackers stabbed Nelson to death after demanding money.

Winnie was also stabbed, sustaining a wound to her hand which has left her unable to work.

Two cars at scen The two cars at the scene of the attack. Source: PSNI

Nelson Cheung died at the scene as Winnie frantically sought help in nearby houses. The attackers fled with an iPad, iPhone, bank cards, £200 cash, and banking documents.

“I am incredibly sad. The deep grief is so intense that my heart wrenches every time I think of my father,” his daughter said in an emotional victim impact statement.

She also revealed that Nelson was two months from retirement when he was killed.

I dare not think of my father or even the happy memories unless I am alone. I am sad that he’s been taken away from me so early. I am even more sad about the way in which he was taken away.

In the immediate aftermath of her husband’s death Winnie left Northern Ireland to return to family in Hong Kong. She can no longer work due to her injury and also suffers from post-traumatic stress.

35-year-old Virgilio Correia, formerly of Grant Avenue in Randalstown, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for the murder.

Christopher David Menaul, 28, from Barra Street in Belfast, was sentenced to at least nine years in prison for murder. They both also received a further 12 years in prison for wounding with intent, and 12 years for robbery, to run concurrently.

A third man, Gary Thompson (34), from Felden Avenue in Newtownabbey, was jailed for seven years for robbery. He received a further three years for assisting offenders and another three for attempting to pervert the course of justice. Those sentences will also run concurrently.

His partner Lisa Thompson, also from Felden Avenue, was handed down a two-year suspended sentence for handling stolen goods.

The PSNI released video footage of Menaul and Correira’s movements on the night of the attack.

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Source: PoliceServiceNI/YouTube

Detective Chief Inspector Eamonn Corrigan, from PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, said:

“These four individuals were involved in the vicious murder of Nelson Cheung in varying degrees but all of them have contributed to destroying the life of this hardworking couple.

This was a particularly brutal and senseless attack on a defenceless couple who were returning home after a hard day’s work.

The PSNI said that their enquiries lead them to believe that the motivation behind the vicious attack was to pay off drugs debts.

Corrigan explained that investigators got a break when it was discovered that an attempt had been made to purchase a hot tub from eBay using a credit card stolen in the robbery.

“This online attempted transaction was made within one hour of Mr Cheung’s death. Our enquiries into this online activity then led us to the home address of Gary and Lisa Thompson,” he added.

Detectives were then able to piece together the movements of the four people involved, directly before and after the murder – including the fact that Virgilio Correia and Christopher Menaul had followed the Cheungs the previous night in a “dry run”.

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Ceimin Burke

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