Couple deny charges connected to murder of Chinese businessman in Co Antrim

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A husband and wife have appeared where they denied a string of charges linked to the murder of Co Antrim restaurant owner Wing Fu Cheung.

The 65-year old Chinese businessman, who was also known as Nelson Cheung, was attacked alongside his wife Kan-Fung Cheung after their Jeep was ambushed and forced off the road as they made their way home to Ballymena last January.

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

Appearing at Belfast Crown Court on charges arising from the murder and robbery were husband and wife Gary and Lisa Thompson.

Two men have already appeared in court and denied murdering Mr Cheung and wounding his wife. Both 33-year old Portugese national Virgilio Agusto Fernando Correia, from Randalstown, and 25-year-old Christopher David Menaul, from Antrim, are currently on remand awaiting trial.

Co-accused Gary and Lisa Thompson are set to join Correia and Menaul for trial, after they denied charges linked to the murder.

Gary Thompson (33), whose address was given as ‘at an address approved by the PSNI and Social Services’, denied five charges, including murder. He pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Cheung, wounding Mrs Cheung and robbing Mrs Cheung of a handbag, iPad, iPhone, a purse containing £200, an Ulster Bank card and an American Express card.

When a charge of handling stolen goods - namely Mrs Cheung’s iPhone and Ulster Bank card - was put to Gary Thomson, he replied “guilty to the mobile phone but not the bank card”.

When the same charge was put to 34-year old Lisa Thompson, from Monroe Avenue in Lurgan, she replied “not guilty”.

The couple are also jointly charged with assisting offenders, and perverting the course of justice.

Regarding the assisting offenders charge, the pair are accused of knowing that Virgilio Agusto Fernando Correia and Christopher David Menaul had committed an offence and allowing them to use their home for refuge to remove clothing used during the incident and clean themselves. Both denied the charge.

At the time of Mr Cheung’s murder on January 7 last year, the couple were living at Cunningham Way in Antrim.

They were also charged with 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. This charge - dated January 12, 2015 - was also denied by the couple.

The court heard the case is due to be reviewed later this month, with all four accused due to stand trial in the New Year.

After entering their pleas, both Gary and Lisa Thompson were released on continuing bail.