Closing speeches begin in Quyen Nguyen murder trial

Quyen Ngoc Nguyen
Quyen Ngoc Nguyen

Lawyers in the trial of two convicted killers accused of the murder of a mum who was burned alive in her car have started making closing speeches to the jury.

Stephen Unwin and William McFall, who met while serving life sentences, are accused of killing Quyen Nguyen after keeping her captive at a house for four hours where she was raped and forced to hand over bank details.

Prosecutors claim the men shared a curry together as the mum-of-two lay dying in the house.

The 28-year-old nail salon worker's body was found in her Audi A4 which was dumped and set on fire on a dirt track in Shiney Row.

Unwin, 40, of St. Oswald's Terrace, Houghton, and McFall, 51, of Waterloo Road, Blackpool, both deny rape and murder and are being tried by a jury at Newcastle

Crown Court.

Unwin has told jurors he left McFall, known as John, alone with the victim at his home while he went to the shop for cigarettes and that she looked 'dead' when he got back.

McFall has told jurors it was Unwin who carried out the killing last August and "laughed" as he did it.

Lawyers for the prosecution and on behalf of both men will make closing speeches before Mr Justice Morris sums up the case to the jury, which will then retire to consider its verdict next week.

Prosecutor Jamie Hill QC has told jurors: "You must not convict a defendant just because you may have formed an adverse opinion about them, about their past.

"You must not convict simply out of sympathy for a victim."

Both men admit being at the scene of the killing say they played no part and their co-accused is guilty.

Each of them have told the court they have received threats from the other after they were arrested.

Jurors have heard Unwin was given a life sentence in 1999 for murder after he broke into a 73-year-old man's home in Houghton Le Spring on Christmas Day in 1998 and attacked then stabbed him in the chest before starting three fires.

He was released in 2012.

The court heard McFall was jailed for life at Belfast Crown Court in April 1997 after he had broken into the home of 86-year-old Martha Gilmore, who had mobility problems, at Station Road, Greencastle, and repeatedly hit her with a hammer in May 1996.

McFall was released on licence in 2010.

Both men deny the murder and rape of Miss Nguyen.

The trial continues.