Wife on murder charge weeps as refused bail

A Chinese woman accused of murdering her husband in Derry, wept in court today as she was refused bail.

Suwei Shang, whose address was given on court papers as Francis Street, is charged with murdering Damien Keenan on November 1, 2011.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the 39-year-old married Mr Keenan in August that year.

It was alleged that on the afternoon of November 1 an ambulance was called to their home to reports of a man falling downstairs.

Shang answered the door to them and was “agitated”.

An investigating officer told the court Mr Keenan was found with a stab wound to his back and Shang allegedly admitted she had stabbed him.

The 39-year-old was said to have blood on her hands and clothes when she was arrested and allegedly said: “I didn’t mean to kill him”.

Mr Keenan was taken to hospital, however his condition deteriorated and he died the following day.

Shang was re-arrested for murder and allegedly told police: “I regret it so much.”

During police interview Shang claimed that she and Mr Keenan had been arguing and said he had assaulted her. She claimed that she armed herself with a knife and stabbed him in the back as they were walking upstairs.

However, the 39-year-old allegedly said she had only intended to scare her husband.

The investigating officer told the court Shang was due to be deported on November 5 last year, as her visa application had been denied.

Opposing bail, the officer said there was a risk of flight as Shang has no ties in Northern Ireland.

He also alleged that the defendant has a “substantial amount” of cash available to her, with approximately £100,000 in a bank account that may have been obtained illegally.

The court also heard that if released Shang would be liable to immediate detention by the Border Agency.

A defence solicitor said the accused, who worked as a nurse in China, arrived in Northern Ireland in 2005.

He said she had escaped an abusive marriage there and wanted to start a new life in Europe.

The solicitor said on the day of the alleged incident his client was “in real fear” of her husband.

He told the court the proposed bail address was a women’s hostel.

District Judge Barney McElhom said granting Shang bail would be a “pointless exercise” because of her immigration status.

However, he added the 39-year-old is an unsuitable candidate for bail because there is a “serious risk” of flight.

Shang was remanded in custody to appear in court again via videolink on June 14.