Life behind bars for man who murdered Chinese restaurant owner on roadside
An Antrim man is to be jailed for life after pleading guilty to the murder of the owner of a Chinese restaurant.
Christopher David Menaul (25) admitted killing Wing Fu Cheung and wounding Mr Cheung's 57-year-old wife, Kam-Fung Cheung, who was stabbed in the hand. He also robbed her of a handbag, an iPad, iPhone, £200, an Ulster Bank card and an American Express card.
Defence QC Martin O'Rourke asked Belfast Crown Court for his client, originally with an address in Barra Street, Antrim, to be re-arraigned on the three charges he had previously denied.
Following his guilty pleas, Mr O'Rouke also applied to Mr Justice Treacy to adjourn the tariff hearing on the life sentence which resulted from Menaul's guilty plea to murder.
Adjourning the hearing to determine the minimum term Menaul will have to serve, Mr Justice Treacy told the defendant that, as his counsel pointed out, the law provided only one sentence for murder - life.
Although no details surrounding the case was given, last April a court was told that on the night of January 7, 2015, Mr Cheung, also known as Nelson, and his wife, also known as Winnie, were driving to their Ballymena home in their 4x4 after leaving their Chinese restaurant, the Double Value, in Randalstown, when they were rammed by another vehicle.
A prosecution lawyer said that after Mr Cheung got out of the passenger seat, he was confronted by two males and subsequently stabbed up to 18 times.
It was also claimed in court that the victim was hit with such force that one wound "went straight through his body and out his back".
The trial of three other people, including a husband and wife, facing charges arising out of the fatal attack is scheduled to begin in the new year and is expected to last four weeks.
A 35-year-old Portuguese national, Virgilio Agusto Fernando Correia, originally with an address in Grant Avenue, Randalstown, is accused of Mr Cheung's murder and attacking and robbing his wife.
Also facing a charge of murder is an engineer, now living at a PSNI-approved address, whose wife is accused of a series of separate charges.
They are Gary and Lisa Thompson, both aged 34, and formerly of Cunningham Way in Antrim.
In addition to the murder charge, Gary Thompson is also accused of robbery, wounding, assisting offenders, handling stolen goods and committing an act to pervert the course of public justice.
His care assistant wife, also living at an approved address, denies assisting offenders, handling stolen goods and committing an act with intent to perverting the course of justice.