Men who murdered Vietnamese mum are '˜most violent and cowardly individuals' detective has come across

The detective who led the investigation into the murder of Quyen Ngoc Nuyen said today her two killers are probably the 'most violent and cowardly individuals' he has come across in his decades in the police force.

Wednesday, 28th March 2018, 7:27 am
Updated Wednesday, 28th March 2018, 7:30 am
Detective Inspector Ed Small of Northumbria Police.

Stephen Unwin and William McFall were convicted of the murder of the 28-year-old mum at Newcastle Crown Court today. Unwin was also found guilty of rape while McFall was cleared of that charge.

The pair, who have both previously served sentences for killing people, are due to be sentenced at a later date.

Detective Inspector Ed Small of Northumbria Police.

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Miss Nuyen’s badly burnt body was discovered in the back seat of her Audi A4 which was in a dirt track near allotments off Success Road, in Shiney Row, on August 14.

Unwin and McFall both initially denied any involvement in Miss Nguyen’s death but as the trial progressed they blamed each other for her killing.

A jury took four hours to convict both men of the rape and murder of the victim.

Following the conclusion of the case, Northumbria Police’s Detective Inspector Ed Small spoke of how the killers left “overwhelming evidence” as to their involvement in the 28-year-old’s murder.

Quyen Ngoc Nguyen.

“These men are probably two of the most violent and cowardly individuals I have come across in 25 years in the police,” said DI Small.

“They have targeted vulnerable people and have shown no remorse whatsoever for their actions.

“Hopefully, they will never harm anyone again.”

The trial heard that Unwin and McFall, who were both already convicted murderers and met while serving life sentences, kept Miss Nuyen captive at a house for four hours where she was tortured and forced to hand over bank details.

Quyen Ngoc Nguyen.

Unwin, 40, told jurors he left McFall, 51 and known as John, alone with the victim at his home while he went to the shop for cigarettes and that the nail salon worker looked “dead” when he got back.

Unwin said he was in a relationship with the victim, who leased out rental properties and would hire him to do odd jobs, and had nothing to do with her death.

DI Small added that in the days following the murder, the evidence gathered pointed to the two men killing her.

“The evidence in this case was overwhelming and the two killers would never have fallen below the radar,” said DI Small.

Shiney Row, where her body was found.

“The most compelling of this was the CCTV footage from Unwin’s next door neighbour.

“It shows the victim arriving and later how they removed her body from the address.

“There was also a lot of forensice evidence and I have to thank the local community for their help in this case.”

DI Small also paid tribute to the strength shown by Miss Nuyen’s family since her death.

“Her parents are not in the country and haven’t been able to travel here for the trial.

“But Quyen’s sister has been in court throughout the trial, which must have been heartbreaking for her to go through.

Detective Inspector Ed Small of Northumbria Police.

“She has shown great strength.”


Murderers should serve at least 40 years in jail and not be released before that on licence, a victims’ campaigner said after the case.

Stephen Unwin and William McFall murdered pensioners in separate attacks in the 1990s, made friends in prison and teamed up to kill again in the most twisted fashion.

David Hines, founder of the National Victims’ Association, had argued against Unwin being freed after he served just 13 years of a life sentence for murdering a pensioner during a burglary on Christmas Day 1998.

According to reports, when a judge set the minimum term Unwin faced in 2007, years after his original life sentence, he said the killer had shown “deep remorse”.

At the time Mr Hines said: “This is just one example of a multitude of cases where the courts are just rubber-stamping early releases for these people. It’s unbelievable.”

After Unwin and McFall were convicted of their dreadful second murder, Mr Hines said: “A life sentence should mean a minimum of 40 years behind bars.

“If they do get let out, it has to be guaranteed that they are safe, and the people who let them out have to be accountable.

“These two first murdered senior citizens, followed each other around the prison system and became friends, and then went on to do all kinds of horrible deeds together.

“I blame the politicians for not changing the law.

“We haven’t got a strong enough criminal justice system.”

Quyen Ngoc Nguyen.
Quyen Ngoc Nguyen.
Shiney Row, where her body was found.