Belfast Telegraph

Why was Northern Ireland pensioner murderer McFall set free to kill again?

Guilty: Killer of Northern Ireland pensioner who was freed after 13 years to murder again

William John McFall
William John McFall
Quyen Ngoc Nguyen
Stephen Unwin and McFall
Selfie taken by William McFall with Stephen Unwin (left) during the drive to Fencehouse Post Office, where they withdrew cash from Quyen Ngoc Nguyen's bank account
Victoria Leonard

By Victoria Leonard

A man who bludgeoned an 86-year-old woman to death in Co Antrim in 1996 has been found guilty of murdering a Vietnamese mother whose body was found in a burning car in England.

William John McFall, who is originally from Graymount Parade in Greencastle, and his co-accused Stephen Unwin were convicted at Newcastle Crown Court of teaming up to murder Quyen Ngoc Nguyen.

McFall had previously murdered Greenisland pensioner Martha Gilmore by battering her to death with a hammer.

Maintenance men Unwin (40) and McFall (51) put Quyen Ngoc Nguyen through a four-hour ordeal after she was lured to Unwin’s home in Shiney Row, Tyne and Wear.

Unwin was also convicted of her rape.

But McFall, who even posed for a grinning selfie after the pair had committed their depraved and greed-fuelled crime, was cleared of the rape charge.

The Newcastle Crown Court jury of eight women and four men deliberated for four hours before reaching their verdicts.

Mr Justice Morris said mandatory life sentences will follow, and warned the pair they may never be released.

Yesterday a Greenisland neighbour who recalled police searching for the weapon used to murder Mrs Gilmore said she “wasn’t surprised” that McFall had killed again, as there had “always been a badness about him”.

“There was an incident when the local school was broken into and a goldfish was cut up and put between the pages of a book — neighbours feared that McFall was involved in that,” she revealed.

Undated handout photo issued by Northumbria Police of a still from mobile phone footage showing William McFall holding a gun. Pic: Northumbria Police/PA Wire
Undated handout photo issued by Northumbria Police of a still from mobile phone footage showing William McFall holding a gun. Pic: Northumbria Police/PA Wire

“Mrs Gilmore’s death was a big shock, and I’m very sorry to hear he has killed again, particularly with the second woman suffering like that.

“McFall taking a selfie is like Moors murderer Ian Brady taking pictures on the graves of the children he murdered. It’s very callous. I’m shocked that he had the opportunity to kill again.”

Another elderly neighbour of Mrs Gilmore held her head in her hands after learning of McFall’s most recent crime, describing it as “horrendous”.

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson, who was a neighbour of Mrs Gilmore at the time of her death, said it was “important to discover the circumstances of how McFall got from prison in Northern Ireland to England”.

“I do not know how McFall got out after Mrs Gilmore’s murder — there are questions to be answered over why he was deemed fit to be freed to return to society and commit a second horrendous murder,” he said.

“Those who made that decision have a heavy burden to bear.”

Yesterday his second victim’s sister Quyhn Ngoc Nguyen wept in the public gallery, holding a framed photo of her sibling.

McFall made a series of angry allegations from the glass dock, claiming the jury had been “brainwashed”, that he was only found guilty because of the previous murder conviction, and shouting: “You’ve found an innocent man guilty, so you have.”

Firefighters discovered Ms Nguyen’s badly burned body in the back of her Audi after it had been torched beside allotments last August.

The jury heard how her killers, who met in prison, ate a curry they had cooked as their victim lay dying in the house.

The mother-of-two worked at her sister’s nail bar, but also helped Vietnamese people find accommodation, when she came across Unwin, who worked for landlords maintaining properties. Unbeknown to her, he was a life prisoner out on licence for murdering a pensioner in 1998.

Tellingly, he had also set fire to his elderly victim’s house in a bid to cover his tracks.

The killers met in HMP Swaleside in Kent. They got in touch via Facebook after they were both released on licence.

They teamed up, working together legitimately, but also stealing cannabis from ‘farms’ in local properties. They planned their depraved attack on the 5ft victim and Unwin tricked her into coming into his home, where McFall was waiting.

The Belfast man had texted Unwin earlier that evening saying: “We raping the ch**k?”

Before she was sexually assaulted, raped and killed, she had been forced to hand over her card PIN numbers and Unwin withdrew £1,000 from her accounts at cashpoints that night.

Each of the defendants blamed the other, seemingly hoping to confuse the jury.

McFall wrote to Unwin while they were on remand saying he had been to the prison library and found a “legal loophole” despite what he admitted was damning evidence.

The prosecution claimed their loophole was simply to blame one another.

After the trial the victim’s sister branded the killers “evil” and said they should never be released or “innocent people could be harmed”.

David Hines, founder of the National Victims’ Association, said: “A life sentence should mean a minimum of 40 years behind bars.”

Detective Inspector Ed Small said it was “one of the most horrific cases” he had investigated in his 25 years as a police officer.

He added that the pair “deserve to spend the rest of their lives behind bars”.

Belfast Telegraph


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