Double murderer Stephen Unwin appears in court over cash belonging to his victim Quyen Ngoc Nguyen

The family of a mum who was raped and murdered before being burned alive is to receive £1,000 following a proceeds of crime hearing.

Monday, 13th January 2020, 5:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 10:11 am
Stephen Unwin who was convicted of murdering Quyen Ngoc Nguyen

Stephen Unwin, 40, is serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of Quyen Ngoc Nguyen on Wearside in August 2017.

The 28-year-old nail salon worker had been lured to a house for a meeting about potential maintenance work but ended up being forced to hand over bank cards before being brutally killed by Unwin and William McFall.

The cruel duo then disposed of her body by fire at a dirt track.

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Undated handout file photo issued by Northumbria Police of Quyen Ngoc Nguyen, 28, who was murdered by two convicted killers; Stephen Unwin, 42, and William McFall, 51,

A proceeds of crime case was held at South Tyneside Magistrates Court in Monday, January 13, following an application for a sum of £1,233.56 to be released to the person entitled to benefit from it.

Unwin, originally from Houghton, appeared via video link from high security prison HMP Frankland for the hearing.

The court heard how Unwin accepted that £1,000 of the cash - £500 of which was withdrawn from Ms Nguyen's bank account after her death, was not his money.

He also conceded that £65.10 that was seized belonged to McFall, who was also sentenced for the murder of Ms Nguyen.

Prosecutor Steven Reed said: "This is a proceeds of crime hearing for the cash to be released to the person entitled to benefit.

"Cash was seized by police during an investigation into the murder in August 2017.

"Cash that was in possession of the suspects for the murder, Unwin and McFall.

"Both defendants were convicted at Newcastle Crown Court for the murder of Ms Nguyen and Unwin was convicted of the murder and rape of Ms Nguyen."

Unwin was accused of having links to an address where there was a cannabis farm, but denied this and said he had never sold drugs or profited from drugs.

The court heard how Unwin was contesting a sum of £168.46 saying that it was cash that he had obtained by legitimate means.

James White, defending Unwin, said: "He is not going to contest £1,000 as being Ms Nguyen property.

"He is adamant that he was never involved in the cultivation of drugs and never sold drugs for profit.

"He says the money was obtained by legitimate means."

The court heard Unwin had worked repairing properties and money seized by police in £1 and £2 coins in his property, along with cash in notes was money he was going to give to his daughter for maintenance.

Unwin said that £10 that had also been seized was for fuel money.

But magistrates decided on the forfeiture of the £168.46, saying that they were satisfied that the money was for unlawful conduct - making reference to evidence heard in court how Unwin did, via text, offer cannabis for sale and of a video on his phone of a cannabis farm.

Magistrates also ordered Unwin to pay costs of £560.