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Four deny charges linked to murder of Randalstown's Double Value restaurant owner

By Michael Donnelly

Published 14/05/2016

Lisa and Gary Thompson leaving court
Lisa and Gary Thompson leaving court
Murder victim Wing Fu Cheung
Accused Christopher Menaul

Four people appeared before Belfast Crown Court yesterday over the murder of a Chinese restaurant owner.

Portuguese national Virgilio Agusto Fernando Correia (33), from Grant Avenue, Randalstown, and 25-year-old Christopher David Menaul, from Barra Street, Antrim, denied murdering Wing Fu Cheung (65), who was knifed 17 times in January last year.

They also pleaded not guilty to wounding with intent Mr Cheung's wife Winne (57), who was attacked in the same incident after the restaurateur's vehicle was ambushed and forced off the road as the pair drove home to Ballymena.

Correia, whose address along with that of Menaul was given as HMP Maghaberry, also denied a charge of robbing Mrs Cheung of a handbag, an iPad, iPhone, £200, an Ulster Bank card and an American Express card.

A husband and wife currently on bail also appeared on separate charges, which they denied.

Gary Thompson, a 33-year-old engineer formerly of Cunningham Way in Antrim, but now living at an address approved by the PSNI, is accused of having "dishonestly undertook or assisted in the retention, removal, disposal or realisation" of Mrs Cheung's Apple iPhone and Ulster Bank Card.

His 34-year-old wife Lisa, a care assistant also originally of Cunningham Way, Antrim, but now with an address in Lurgan, is accused of committing an act with intent to pervert the course of public justice by threatening Virgilio Correia not to talk to police in interview or he would be "got in the long grass".

Mr Justice Treacy fixed their trial, which to be held in Belfast and is expected to last up to six weeks, for January next year.

No details surrounding the attack on Mr and Mrs Cheung were given during the short formal arraignment.

However, an earlier court hearing was told the couple were attacked after they closed their restaurant, the Double Value in Randalstown, and set out for home in their Kia 4x4. As they travelled along the Caddy Road in their vehicle they began to suspect they were being followed. When Mrs Cheung slowed down and pulled in, a Seat Toledo collided with them.

A detective inspector claimed that a number of people then approached the vehicle, pulled open the door and shouted: "Give us the money."

He added that Mr Cheung was stabbed 17 times during an ensuing altercation.

His wife was verbally abused, grabbed by the hair and stabbed on her hands, which cut an artery and caused bleeding.

Despite Mrs Cheung's injuries, she managed to escape and run to a nearby house for help before returning to the car, where she found her husband.

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