Handymen ‘raped young mother and burned her alive before taking a grinning selfie as they drove away from her blazing body’
Two handymen raped a mother and burnt her alive before taking a grinning selfie as they drove away from her blazing body, a court heard.
Stephen Unwin and William McFall sent depraved social media messages to each other in the three weeks before they murdered Vietnamese nail technician Quyen Ngoc Nguyen, 28, after a five-hour ordeal at Unwin’s home, it was alleged.
Jurors were told that on the night of the killing, McFall messaged Unwin asking: ‘Are we raping the ch***?’
The pair are alleged to have held Miss Nguyen – also known by her English name of Anna – at the house, raped her, and then forced her to hand over PIN numbers to her bank cards.
Prosecutor Jamie Hill, QC, told Newcastle Crown Court: ‘The prosecution say that the motive for this killing was a combination of warped sexual fantasy and greed.’
Unwin, 40 and McFall, 51, were caught on CCTV leaving Unwin’s home in Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, with what prosecutors say is Miss Nguyen’s body wrapped in a white sheet.
Unwin carried Miss Nguyen, who stood less then 5ft tall, over his shoulder while McFall pulled down the sheet to try to obscure her from security cameras that were attached to the house next door, it is alleged.
They then bundled her into her black Audi A4 and drove her to dirt track where they allegedly doused her and the car in petrol and set it ablaze.
Mr Hill told the court: ‘They took a selfie of themselves in the car. McFall is holding the phone and smiling into the phone as they are driving along.’
Their victim, the court heard, was likely still to have been alive when she was set ablaze on the back seat of her vehicle.
Friends and family wear mourning headbands in tribute to Quyen Ngoc Nguyen during an earlier court hearing into her murder at Newcastle Crown Court
Mr Hill told jurors: ‘It is clear she was unable to help herself by the time she was taken out of Unwin’s house and driven to that lane.
‘It is likely you will hear from a pathologist that the presence of certain gases in her body tend to suggest she was still briefly alive at the point the fire was started.’
The court heard Unwin and McFall worked on properties which Miss Nguyen rented out and that she visited Unwin’s home earlier in the evening of August 15.
However she was unaware that the pair had taken what prosecutors described as a depraved sexual interest in her.
Mr Hill said they had exchanged messages via text and social media about Miss Nguyen.
Unwin also asked McFall on August 9: ‘Do you want a Vietnamese?’
Mr Hill said: ‘This was Unwin suggesting or offering a sexual encounter with a Vietnamese person.’
Floral tributes left at the scene in Shiney Row, County Durham, where the body of Quyen Ngoc Nguyen was found in a burned out car
On the day they raped and killed her, the texts continued.
Miss Nguyen, a mother of two, arrived in the UK from Vietnam in 2010 and moved into a home in Killingworth, North Tyneside.
She lived with her sister and the pair opened a nail bar called Glitter Nails in Birtley, Tyne and Wear.
Mr Hill said she had one of her children with her in the UK while the other was being looked after in Vietnam.
He said: ‘As well as helping run the nail salon Miss Nguyen had a part of her life which was largely kept secret.
‘The police investigation revealed she had been involved in helping to rent flats to people who did not have the necessary immigration documents to live and work in the UK.
‘In addition police enquiries show some of the properties she rented were used for growing cannabis.
Miss Nguyen, a mother of two, arrived in the UK from Vietnam in 2010 and moved into a home in Killingworth, North Tyneside with family
‘It is through renting these properties that she came to meet the defendant Unwin in April of last year.’
Unwin told police that he and McFall were employed in repairing properties after the cannabis farms had been harvested.
But the court was told the pair were actually stealing and selling the crops themselves.
Unwin and McFall, who sat at opposite ends of the dock separated by custody officers, blamed each other for the rape and killing of Miss Nguyen.
Unwin’s DNA was found on her body but he claimed they had a consensual sexual relationship and had intercourse some days before her body was found.
Unwin, of Houghton-le-Spring, and McFall, of Blackpool, Lancs, both deny rape and murder and the trial, expected to last four weeks, continues.