Killers who met in prison joined forces to torture and murder mother of two

Two killers who met in prison have been convicted of teaming up to torture and murder a seven stone Vietnamese woman before dumping her body in a burning car.

Maintenance men Stephen Unwin, 40, and William McFall, 51, put Quyen Ngoc Nguyen through an unimaginable four hour ordeal after she was lured to Unwin’s home in Shiney Row, Tyne and Wear.

The 28-year-old victim’s badly burned body was later discovered in the back of her Audi by firefighters after it had been torched beside some allotments.

Unwin, 40, and McFall, 51, put 7st Miss Nguyen through an unimaginable four-hour ordeal after she was lured to the house in Shiney Row last summer.

After the pair had committed their depraved and greed-fuelled crime, McFall – who had first met Unwin in prison – even posed for a grinning selfie.

Both defendants had denied killing the young Vietnamese woman.

However, they were found guilty by a jury of eight women and four men, who deliberated for just four hours before reaching their verdicts.

Unwin was convicted of Miss Nguyen’s murder and her rape, while McFall was found guilty of her murder but cleared of the rape charge.

The victim’s sister, Quyhn Ngoc Nguyen, wept in the public gallery at Newcastle Crown Court as she waited for the verdicts.

She could be seen holding a framed photo of her sibling.

Jurors had heard how killers Unwin and McFall ate a curry they had cooked and messaged loved ones as Miss Nguyen lay dying in the house.

The victim worked at her sister’s nail bar, but was also helping Vietnamese people find accommodation when she came across Unwin.

He worked for landlords maintaining properties, and the mum would not have known he was a life prisoner out on licence for murder.

During the earlier killing in 1998, Unwin murdered a pensioner and set fire to the elderly victim’s house in a bid to cover his tracks. McFall, who is from Northern Ireland, also murdered a pensioner during a 1996 break-in.

The killers met in the prison system at HMP Swaleside, a Category B institution, in Kent, the court heard. They later got in touch via Facebook after they were both released on licence.

They teamed up, working together legitimately, but also stealing cannabis from farms they found in local properties, it was said.

They planned their depraved attack on Miss Nguyen, with Unwin tricking her into coming into his home in Houghton-le-Spring last August.

There, McFall was waiting.

The Irishman had texted Unwin earlier that evening using a vile racial slur, saying: “We raping the ch***”?” the court heard.

Before she was sexually assaulted, raped and killed in the horrifying attack, the mum had been forced to hand over her PINs.

Unwin withdrew £1,000 from her bank accounts at cashpoints that night. Each of the defendants blamed the other, seemingly hoping to confuse the jury.

McFall wrote to Unwin while they were on remand saying he had been to the prison library and found a “legal loophole” despite what he admitted was damning evidence. The prosecution claimed their loophole was simply to blame one another.

In a statement today, following the pair’s conviction, Miss Nguyen’s grieving sister described the victim as a “loving”, “caring” and “beautiful” mum.

She also said it had been “unbelievably difficult” to hear the “lies” the defendants had said about her sibling in an attempt to clear their own names”.

Her statement, released via Northumbria Police, read: “Quyen was a loving caring mother and a simply beautiful daughter, sister and aunt who loved nothing more than spending time with her family.

“She had many friends both Vietnam and in the UK. My sister has two beautiful young children whose lives have been changed forever, they will never see there mummy again which has left us all deeply saddened and hurt.

“My parents will never understand why she has been taken from them in this violent way, they always believed she would be safe in this country.

“She was their youngest child, a kind, generous, thoughtful and intelligent young women.

“We have all been left devastated by her death, our family has lost a wonderful women, we cannot even begin to describe the loss and emptiness in our hearts, her smile will be missed every day by everyone who knew her.

“Quyen was a talented loving and beautiful young woman who had the opportunity for a wonderful life; she had educated herself in London to degree standard, taught herself to learn the English language well and dreamed of a good life for her and her children.

“It has been unbelievably difficult for her family and friends to listen to the lies these two men have said about her in an attempt to clear their own names.

“She was not involved in any criminality nor was she ever in a relationship with Mr Unwin. The thought and knowledge of what Quyen must have suffered at the time of her death is unbearable.

“Although nothing will bring her back to us I accept the sentence imposed by the court and hope these individuals will never be released.”

Miss Nguyen, who was originally from Vinh, a city in the north of Vietnam, moved to the UK in 2010 to study business in London.

Her burned body was found in the back of her car on August 15, 2017.

Unwin and McFall are now facing the rest of their lives behind bars.

David Hines, founder of the National Victims’ Association, said today: “A life sentence should mean a minimum of 40 years behind bars.”

Because they have both killed before, Unwin and McFall are expected to receive rarely imposed whole-life prison terms, Chronicle Live reports.

This would mean they would never be released.

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