Jury sworn for case linked to fatal stabbing of Chinese businessman

Nelson Cheung

Nelson Cheung

A jury of eight men and four women have been sworn to preside over the trial of an Antrim couple facing charges linked to the murder of Chinese restaurateur Nelson Cheung.

The 65-year old businessman was attacked alongside his wife after their Jeep was ambushed and forced off the road as they made their way home to Ballymena in January 2014.

Mr Cheung was stabbed 17 times during the robbery on the outskirts of Randalstown and died as a result of his wounds, whilst his wife Wendy also sustained knife wounds in the incident.

Husband and wife Gary and Lisa Thompson, who at the time of the murder lived at Cunningham Way in Antrim, have been charged with and deny a series of offences linked to the incident.

They appeared at Belfast Crown Court today where the jury was sworn. The trial - which is expected to last three weeks - is due to commence on Tuesday.

Gary Thompson (34), whose current address was given as ‘at an address approved by the PSNI and Social Services’, denies several charges including murdering Wing Fu ‘Nelson’ Cheung on a date between January 6 and 9, 2012, and of both wounding his wife Kam-Fung ‘Wendy’ Cheung and robbing her of a handbag, iPad, iPhone, a purse containing £200, an Ulster Bank card and an American Express card.

Both Gary Thompson and his 34-year old wife Lisa, whose current address is Erskine Park in Ballyclare, have also been charged jointly charged with assisting offenders, handling stolen goods and perverting the course of justice.

Prior to the start of the trial, Crown prosecutor David McDowell QC told the members of the jury that the murder of Mr Cheung occurred when the couple were making their way home just after midnight on Thursday January 8th, 2015 after shutting up the Double Value chinese restaurant on Randalstown’s Main Street.

After the jury was sworn, the Thompsons were release on contining bail by trial judge Mr Justice Treacy.

Two other men have already pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Cheung. Portugese national Virgilio Augusto Fernando Correia (35) whose address was given as HMP Maghaberry and Christopher David Menaul (25), from Barra Street in Antrim, are both currently on remand in prison awaiting sentence.