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Hon Cheong Chu, from Barming, Maidstone, guilty of ordering wife to kill family


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A warped husband with an arsenal of lethal weapons and ammunition in his Maidstone home has been convicted of ordering his wife to massacre her family.

Hon Cheong Chu now faces being detained indefinitely in a mental hospital.

The 55-year-old stared straight ahead without emotion - as he did throughout his trial - after being convicted of 22 charges.

Armed police at the home in Barming at the time
Armed police at the home in Barming at the time

He had denied soliciting murder, 12 charges of possessing expanding ammunition, two of assault causing actual bodily harm, four of possessing a prohibited firearm, making a threat to kill, possessing a disguised firearm and possessing a firearm without a certificate.

The jury of seven men and five women had not been told that three people escorting Chu in the dock were mental health nurses.

His QC Oliver Saxby said Chu was already receiving treatment in hospital and he would now be examined further by psychiatrists.

“The overwhelming likelihood is there will be some sort of mental health disposal,” he said.

Armed officers outside the house
Armed officers outside the house

Judge Philip Statman adjourned sentence until November 20 when he will hear evidence from two psychiatrists.

There had been delays in the case, he said, because it had to be determined whether Chu was fit to enter his pleas and stand trial.

Prosecutor John O’Higgins emphasised: “The court was fully satisfied he was entirely fit to be tried and entirely fit to give evidence, had he chosen to do so.”

"Her husband was absolutely dominant and controlling. He hated her and her family. He demanded absolute obedience. He had a collection of firearms. She lived in fear of him" - John O'Higgins, prosecuting

Maidstone Crown Court heard “dominant and controlling” Chu ordered his wife Lydie to kill herself after wiping out her mother, sister, her husband and their son in Hong Kong.

He also declared he would kill their own son if she failed.

Mrs Chu, 48, endured 20 years of domestic abuse before she finally confided in a friend whose stepfather was a retired police officer.

Police marksmen then raided the couple’s three-storey home in Tarragon Road, Barming, and seized six firearms, a large amount of expanding ammunition, swords and a garrotte.

The story unfolded after customers at gift shop Destinys in the Royal Arcade in the town where Mrs Chu worked became increasingly worried about her.

“She disclosed she had been the victim of domestic violence for a long time, but it went much further than that,” said Mr O’Higgns.

“Her husband was absolutely dominant and controlling. He hated her and her family. He demanded absolute obedience. He had a collection of firearms. She lived in fear of him.

“He developed a morbid obsession with killing her family in Hong Kong. He demanded that she go to Hong Kong to kill her family, failing which he would kill their son.

“She kept hoping he would relent, but it was apparent he was deadly serious.”

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

She met Chu in Hong Kong in 1987. At first they were happy. But his attitude changed when he discovered she had not been a virgin before they met.

“He began to treat her with contempt,” said Mr O’Higgins. “He felt she had dishonoured him and his family.”

Judge Statman requested that Mrs Chu, who now lives in Hong Kong, be informed of the verdicts.

“The evidence she gave shows the greatest bravery in coming before the court and great fortitude in having the courage to go to the police and make her complaint in what must have been extraordinarily difficult circumstances for her,” he said.

He added: “I have not decided yet what the ultimate disposal should be.”

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