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Nelson Cheung murder: Murder accused Christopher Menaul is denied bail to visit terminally ill 'father figure'

Published 23/02/2016

Nelson Cheung (65) was stabbed to death
Nelson Cheung (65) was stabbed to death

A man charged with murdering a Chinese businessman has failed in a High Court bid to be released from custody to see his own terminally ill "father figure".

Christopher Menaul was seeking compassionate bail to meet the man diagnosed with cancer.

Prosecutors opposed the move, claiming there was a risk the 26-year-old could try to flee from a suggested rendezvous point featuring no security.

Backing their case, a judge ruled that that the relationship did not qualify for temporary prison release.

Menaul, of Barra Street in Antrim, is among three men charged with the murder of Nelson Cheung in January last year.

The 65-year-old businessman was stabbed up to 17 times during a roadside robbery in Co Antrim.

His wife Winnie, 57, also suffered serious knife wounds before her personal belongings were stolen.

Robbers launched the attack after forcing the couple's car off the Caddy Road, on the outskirts of Randalstown.

The couple had been heading home to Ballymena after closing their business for the night when their vehicle was ambushed by two cars.

Menaul is also charged with the attempted murder of Mrs Cheung, robbing her of a handbag, iPhone, iPad, cash and bank cards.

As he applied for compassionate bail today, prosecution barrister Kate McKay questioned the strength of his bond with the man he wanted out to see.

She also disclosed that the proposal was to travel to an independently run visitor's centre outside Maghaberry Prison.

"There would be no security to ensure this man would not attempt to make off," Mrs McKay added.

Andrew Moriarty, defending, argued that his client was looked upon as a son by the other man.

The barrister said: "Mr Menaul does not have a relationship with his biological father, and the person who has served as his father figure over the last 10 years is (this man)."

A defence solicitor would also chaperone the accused in a bid to ease any concerns about any attempted escape.

But denying release, Judge Gordon Kerr QC ruled: "I do not accept the relationship is such that compassionate bail arises.

"Given the nature of the charges and the risk of flight I refuse the application."

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