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Bail denied for man accused over murder of restaurant owner Nelson Cheung

By John Cassidy

Published 29/10/2016

Murdered: Nelson Cheung
Murdered: Nelson Cheung

A man awaiting trial accused of murdering Chinese restaurant owner Nelson Cheung has been refused compassionate bail to visit a seriously ill relative.

Portuguese national Virgilio Augusto Fernando Correia (35), whose address was given as c/o HMP Maghaberry, denies murdering Mr Cheung, robbing his wife Winnie Cheung and wounding her with intent to cause her grievous bodily harm.

The offences are alleged to have taken place on dates between January 6 and January 9, 2015 in Co Antrim.

A previous bail application by Correira to attend his 18-month-old daughter's christening had been refused.

During that hearing in April, the prosecution told the court the couple were heading home from their Chinese restaurant in Randalstown on the night of January 7, 2015 when their car was "rammed'' by another vehicle.

Mr Cheung got out of the passenger seat and was confronted by two males from the other car and stabbed 18 times. He was hit with such force, said the prosecutor, that one stab wound "went straight through his body and out his back''.

Mrs Cheung was stabbed in the hand and robbed of a handbag, phone, cash and bank cards.

Before the bail application yesterday, Mr Justice Treacy told Correia's defence QC Alan Kane: "These are absolutely horrific crimes that are alleged against your client and he has been refused bail on a number of occasions he has applied for it.''

Mr Kane said that Correia wanted compassionate bail to visit his sister's mother-in-law who was "quite severely ill'' after undergoing a kidney operation.

"There is some concern on the part of the defendant for her future on this earth. She also finds it difficult to access the prison to visit him.''

David McDowell QC, for the prosecution, said the relative had not "visited the defendant at all ever before that surgery or since his incarceration''.

Mr Justice Treacy said: "The application is refused.''

Correia will stand trial in Belfast next January along with three co-accused. Christopher Menaul (27), whose address was given as c/o HMP Maghaberry denies murder, robbery and wounding with intent to do GBH.

Gary Thompson (34) formerly of Cunningham Way, Antrim, is accused of six counts including murder, wounding Mrs Cheung, robbing her handbag, handling stolen goods and perverting the course of justice. His wife Lisa (34) denies assisting offenders, handling stolen goods and intent to pervert the course of justice.

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