Murder accused denies smiling in selfie and tells jury 'false teeth were falling out'

Quyen Ngoc Nguyen. Picture issued by Northumbria Police
Quyen Ngoc Nguyen. Picture issued by Northumbria Police

A man on trial for the murder of a mum who was burned alive in her abandoned car has denied smiling in a "selfie" taken after the killing and claimed his false teeth were simply falling out when he took the picture.

Stephen Unwin and William McFall, who are both already convicted murderers and 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.

Miss Nguyen's body was found in her Audi A4 which was dumped and set on fire on a dirt track in Shiney Row.

The 28-year-old nail salon worker may have been still alive when the blaze was started and could only be identified through dental records.

Unwin, 40, of St. Oswald's Terrace, Houghton, and McFall, 51, of Waterloo Road, Blackpool, both deny rape and murder.

During the trial, jurors at Newcastle Crown Court have seen a "selfie" photograph taken by McFall, in Unwin's car, after the killing last August.

Prosecutors say the image, which appears to show McFall smiling in the foreground while Unwin is driving in the background, was taken after the men dumped Miss Nguyen's body and went back to Unwin's house on foot, where they collected his vehicle.

On his second day of giving evidence, McFall has told jurors he was not smiling in the photograph.

He said from the witness box: "I am not smiling.

"For the benefit of the jury, I have false teeth and they are falling out, you will see that."

McFall added; "They are falling out at the time when I am sending a selfie."

McFall made the false teeth claim while he was being cross examined by Unwin's barrister Dapinder Singh QC.

Jurors, who had been shown the "selfie" earlier in the trial have been shown the image again.

McFall told them; "It is most certainly not a happy smile."


Both men have told the jury they have received threats from their co-accused after they were arrested.

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.

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.