News

Two men handed life sentence for murder of Vietnemese mother

25 Apr 2018 15:00 PM

Unwin and McFall with text [View Full Size]

Two men have been handed full life terms with no opportunity for parole for the brutal murder of a mother-of-two in Houghton-le-Spring.

Stephen Unwin, 40, and William John McFall, 51, were convicted last month of the murder of 28-year-old Quyen Ngoc Nguyen in Sunderland last August.

The pair had originally met in prison where they were already serving time behind bars for murdering vulnerable victims in two separate incidents.

But following their release they reunited and schemed together to rape and murder the Vietnamese mother-of-two at Unwin's home.

The pair held Quyen hostage at Unwin's address in Houghton-le-Spring for four hours during which she was sexually assaulted and raped to a point at which they rendered her unconscious. 

Her killers then drove her body to some nearby allotments in Shiney Row, dumped the vehicle in a field and then set it on fire as Quyen lay slumped on the back seat.

Detectives quickly identified the men as suspects and gathered a mountain of evidence against them - but they both denied any responsibility.

Last month a jury saw through their lies and the pair were convicted of murder at Newcastle Crown Court. Stephen Unwin was also convicted of rape.

Now they have been jailed for life with no minimum term by a judge today (Wednesday) which means they face the prospect of never being released from prison.

Following the case, senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Ed Small said both men were dangerous offenders and he was glad they would never be released from prison.

He said: "The murder of Quyen Ngoc Nguyen is one of the worst cases I have had to investigate 25 years as a police officer.
"Quyen was the mother to two young children and she was well-loved by her family and friends. She came to this country in the hope of a better life.
"Nobody should ever go through what Quyen endured that night and some of the evidence heard during the trial will haunt her family forever. 
"Quynh was determined to sit through this evidence and look her sister’s killers in the eye. She has shown amazing strength and I cannot praise her enough. 
"After William John McFall and Stephen Robert Unwin were convicted, Quynh described them as evil men and said she never wanted them released from prison. They are both dangerous offenders and now they will never be released. 
"They have shown no remorse throughout and have refused to take any responsibility for their actions. 
"The fact they thought they could get away with Quyen's murder despite the overwhelming evidence against them, shows their level of their arrogance. It is my honest opinion, they will never change.
"The sentence handed to William McFall and Stephen Unwin today means they will never be released to kill again. 
"I hope the families of all their victims, will take some comfort from today’s sentence in the knowledge that these two evil men are locked up for good."

 

Unwin, of Oswald Terrace, Houghton-le-Spring, and McFall, of Waterloo Road, Blackpool, were released from prison in December, 2012, and December 2010.
 
Quyen lived in Killingworth with her sister Quynh and worked as a manager at a Birtley nail bar as well as working to find properties for other members of the Vietnamese community. It was through this line of work that she met property manager Stephen Unwin.
 
During their trial, Newcastle Crown Court heard that on the afternoon of August 14th Unwin and McFall had exchanged texts arranging to rape Quyen.
 
She arrived at Unwin's address on Oswald Terrace in Houghton-le-Spring at around 7.30pm and CCTV captured the last moment she was seen alive before she entered the property.
 
Once inside she was held by the pair for four hours during which she was sexually assaulted and raped to such a level that it rendered her unconscious.
 
The pair stole her bank card and Unwin was caught on CCTV withdrawing hundreds of pounds from her account while she was held in the address.
 
Quyen's unconscious body was then moved into her car before the pair drove it to allotments in Shiney Row where they abandoned it and set it on fire. A pathologist later told police that Quyen may still have been alive.
 
As Part of their investigation, detectives uncovered a damning CCTV trail as well as a smiling selfie that the pair took during a trip to withdraw cash from Quyen’s account after they had dumped her body. 
 
Both denied being involved in the mother-of-two's death despite the overwhelming evidence against them presented by detectives at Northumbria Police's Homicide and Major Enquiry Team.
 
At Newcastle Crown Court today they were unanimously convicted by a jury of charges of murder. Stephen Unwin was also convicted of rape but McFall was found not guilty of rape.
 
Statement from Quyen's sister - Quynh NGoc Nguyen
“Quyen came here from Vietnam for a better life. She came to study and to get an education so she could provide a better life for her family.
“She was intelligent, taught herself how to speak the English language and was living the life that she had dreamed of.
“We did not believe that evil men like this existed in this country, we thought it was a safe place to bring up our families.
“Today I am relieved that these men will now spend the rest of their lives in prison. They don’t deserve freedom. 
“It breaks my heart that I will never see Quyen again but the result today does give us some justice.
“She was a devoted mother and an amazing sister. I will remember her beautiful smile forever.”