Cheung murder: Accused refused bail over ‘flight’ concerns

Nelson Cheung
Nelson Cheung

A man accused of the murder of Randalstown businessman Nelson Cheung has been refused bail after a judge expressed concerns that he may try to abscond.

A bail application on behalf of Virgilio Augusto Fernando Correia, was refused, when he appeared via videolink at Ballymena Magistrates Court.

Correia (33), with an address at Grant Avenue, Randalstown, is one of three men is accused of the murder of Mr Cheung and the attempted murder of his wife Winnie, on a date between January 6-9.

Correia and two other men - Christopher David Menaul (25), of Barra Street, Antrim; and Gary Thompson (32), of Cunningham Way, Antrim - are further charged with robbing Mrs Cheung of a handbag, iPad, iPhone, £200 cash and a bank card and with attempting to rob Mr Cheung.

A fourth person facing charges relating to the case - Lisa Thompson (33), of Cunningham Way, Antrim, who is accused of handling a stolen iPhone belong to Mr Cheung’s wife Winnie and with perverting the course of justice by providing a false account of the movements of Gary Thompson - was granted bail two weeks ago.

A PSNI detective constable told Ballymena Magistrates Court that police opposed bail on the grounds that they believed a proposed bail address in Lurgan was unsuitable; that he might leave the jurisdiction; and risk of interference with witnesses in the case, some of whom are known to the defendant, the officer added.

District Judge Des Perry said the fact that Correia is a Portuguese national means “the risk of flight is a more real one”.

Refusing bail, the judge said: “There is, in reality, a real issue with interference with witnesses.”

He remanded Correia in custody to appear again via videolink on July 16.