London

Man cleared of Ngoc Giam Dang 'giant pestle' murder

A restaurant worker accused of using a giant oriental pestle to club to death a 74-year-old love rival has been cleared of murder at the Old Bailey.

Ngoc Giam Dang was bludgeoned as he lay asleep in bed at his flat in Hackney, north-east London, on 3 July.

His former lodger Tran Quang Hung, 38, admitted sneaking into the property, but said he only did so to have sex with the victim's 48-year-old wife.

When he got there, he said, Mr Dang had already been killed by somebody else.

'Just good friends'

The court heard Mr Hung used to be a lodger at the flat but fell out with Mr Dang after the older man began to suspect the defendant was having an affair with his wife Phu Hang Pham.

She insisted she was just good friends with Mr Hung, the court heard.

A crusher commonly used in oriental cooking to grind rice or beans was used to inflict the injuries on Mr Dang, fracturing his skull, cheekbone and eye socket.

Mr Dang's wife also suffered injuries to her left arm.

The murder weapon was later recovered from the scene and was found to have the victim's DNA on it but not the defendant's.

The court heard it was "beyond dispute" there had been "bad blood" between the men, and that the defendant was caught on CCTV in the area of the flat at 01:02 BST and seen leaving five minutes later.

The jury deliberated over two days before returning a unanimous verdict of not guilty.

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