A credit card stolen from the wife of a murdered Chinese restaurant owner was used in an attempt to make online purchases within an hour of the attack, the High Court has been told.
The claim emerged as the murder accused’s wife was refused bail on charges of handling stolen goods and perverting the course of justice.
Antrim woman Lisa Thompson, 32, was arrested by detectives investigating the fatal knife attack on 65-year-old Nelson Cheung who was stabbed 17 times after robbers forced his car off the road as he travelled home to Ballymena shortly after midnight.
His wife Winnie, 57, also suffered serious knife wounds in the attack at Caddy Road.
Prosecutors say that two weapons used by the killers have still to be found. Mrs Cheung’s handbag, £200 in cash, bank cards, an iPhone and iPad were all stolen.
She was stabbed in the hand but managed to break free and ran to a nearby house seeking help, before returning to find her husband dead, the court heard.
Three men have since been charged with his murder, the attempted murder of Mrs Cheung and robbery offences.
They are: Gary Thompson, 32, of Cunningham Way in Antrim; Virgilio Augusto Fernando Correia, 33, from Grant Avenue, Randalstown; and Christopher David Menaul, 25, from Barra Street, Antrim.
Thompson’s wife Lisa is alleged to have handled the stolen iPhone and perverted the course of justice by providing a false account of his movements on the night of the killing.
She was said to have told police that he had been at an address in Templepatrick.
The court heard how one of the cars allegedly connected to the attack arrived at the Thompson family home on Cunningham Way less than half an hour later.
Prosecutor Stephanie Boyd also claimed financial inquiries revealed a credit card stolen from Mrs Cheung was used in unsuccessful efforts to make internet purchases within an hour.
She added: “There’s been a statement that Lisa Thompson was involved in an attempt to sell the stolen iPad. It’s also alleged that parts of the iPhone were used in an attempt to repair Lisa Thompson’s son’s iPhone.”
Opposing bail, the barrister further claimed Correia was threatened while all of the accused were being held in custody.
She alleged Lisa Thompson shouted that she “could not wait to see his partner”.
Neil Moore, defending, argued that the charges against Lisa Thompson were at the lowest end of the scale.
He told the court his client denies knowing the mobile phone which was brought to her home had been stolen from Mrs Cheung.
“It is a particularly brutal, savage crime committed against members of the Chinese community, but the part allegedly played by Lisa Thompson is significantly diminished,” Mr Moore said.
However, she was refused bail due to the risk of interference with the investigation or witnesses. Mr Justice Horner said: “These are matters of a lesser nature obviously than the diabolical murder of Mr Cheung and the vicious attack perpetrated on Mrs Cheung.
“But at the minute the scales come down very heavily and firmly against the granting of bail.”