A County Antrim husband and wife today (Tuesday) admitted charges linked to the murder of Nelson Cheung - including allowing the businessman’s killers to use their house as a refuge in the aftermath of the fatal stabbing.
Mr Cheung - who owned the Double Value restaurant on Randalstown’s Main Street - was travelling home to Ballymena with his wife Winnie when they were ambushed and run off the road just after midnight on January 8 2015.
Whilst Mr Cheung (65) died from the multiple stab wounds his sustained in the attack on the outskirts of Randalstown, his wife was also wounded and robbed.
Two 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.
Gary and Lisa Thompson, who at the time of the murder lived at Cunningham Way, in Antrim - were also arrested and charged with a number of offences linked to the murder.
For two years, the couple denied any involvement. However, as their trial was due to commence at Belfast Crown Court, legal teams for both defendants asked that they be re-arraigned on several charges.
For the first time, the Thompsons admitted a charge of assisting offenders, namely allowing the killers to use their home “for refuge, to remove clothing worn during the incident and to clean themselves” on January 8 2015.
Gary Thompson (34), whose current address was given as ‘at an address approved by the PSNI and Social Services’, and his 34-year old wife Lisa, whose current address is Erskine Park, in Ballyclare, also both admitted perverting the course of justice.
They both pleaded guilty to doing an act with intent to pervert the course of justice - namely threatening Virgilio Agusto Fernando Correia so as to discourage him from providing his account of police, on January 12 2015.
And whilst Gary Thompson admitted a charge of robbing Mrs Cheung of a handbag, iPad, iPhone, a purse containing £200, an Ulster Bank card and an American Express card, his wife Lisa admitted handling the stolen goods.
After the guilty pleas were entered, Crown prosecutor David McDowell QC asked that additional charges faced by the couple - including a murder charge against Gary Thompson - be left on the books, not to be proceeded with.
The case is due to be mentioned again this Friday, when a date is expected to be set to sentence all four defendants.
Barristers for both Gary and Lisa Thompson asked that the couple be released on continuing bail.
Mr Justice Treacy said that as they had both fully complied with their bail terms up to this date, he could see no reason to revoke bail at this stage.