Date set for visit of Nelson Cheung murder accused’s ‘father figure’

Nelson Cheung
Nelson Cheung

A visit by a family friend to see a man accused of the murder of Randalstown businessman Nelson Cheung will take place on Monday.

A judge has previously granted permission for a meeting to take place between Christopher David Menaul and a seriously ill man - described as a “father figure” to the defendant at court, rather than allow Menaul to be released from custody to visit the man at his home.

Menaul (26), of Barra Street, Antrim, is one of three men accused of killing Mr Cheung and the attempted murder of his wife Winnie on a date between January 6-9 last year.

At last week’s sitting of Ballymena Magistrates Court, the meeting was arranged to take place at this Thursday’s sitting. However, a prison officer told District Judge Des Perry that Ballymena courthouse did not have a suitable facility that would enable the two men to meet without continuous prison staff supervision.

An alternative arrangement was made for the two men to meet on Monday at Antrim courthouse where they could have a private conversation while separated by a screen, meaning they could not physically contact each other.

Meanwhile, at last week’s sitting, a compassionate bail application by another of the men accused of Mr Cheung’s killing was refused.

Virgilio Augusto Fernando Correia (34), of Grant Avenue, Randalstown, had sought to be released in order to visit a child.

District Judge Des Perry said he was wary of “spurious” bail applications but reminded the Public Prosecution Service that any delays in transferring the case to Crown Court - which is due to happen at the end of March - will leave him with no alternative but to consider bail for the defendants, who have been in custody since their arrest more than a year ago.

“The Crown know fine well that the date of 31st of March is pretty much set in stone.

“There might be a lot of midnight oil being burned but I’m sure that date will be met,” the judge added.