Dad-to-be came home from casino before neighbours heard screams

On a spring night in a small Birkenhead cul-de-sac, residents were disturbed by the sound of a man's scream. The following day police made a terrible discovery - the body of their neighbour, beaten and strangled to death in his own home.

Cheung Shing Cheung - Alfay to his friends - had built a small empire as an unofficial money lender around Liverpool's many casinos. But that empire came crashing down on May 15, 2004, when the 51-year-old was found dead in the small flat in Pine Court, Birkenhead, where he lived.

It has been 20 years since the brutal murder which shocked Merseyside's Chinese community. Despite multiple arrests and a trial, nobody was ever brought to justice for the crime, and Cheung Shing Cheung's killer was never caught.

READ MORE: What is Martha's Rule being rolled out at hospitals in England?

READ MORE: How to challenge your PIP decision and get the DWP to look at it again

Mr Cheung had lived on and off in Merseyside for years before moving permanently to the area from Hong Kong in early 2004. Although registered unemployed, he made a steady living through lending and charging his own interest rates - and was hoping to earn money to support his growing family as his wife, with the help of fertility treatment, had recently become pregnant.

He had returned from a trip from Hong Kong just a few days before his body was found. His wife remained out of the country at the time of the killing.

Police traced his movements to the Stanley casino, in Renshaw Street, Liverpool city centre, where he was seen at around 6pm on May 13. He then returned home and spoke to a neighbour at about 10.20pm.

At 2am on May 14, neighbours heard raised men's voices coming from Mr Cheung's house, followed by a scream, then silence. But it was not until the following day that concerned friends called 999 after being unable to get in touch with him.

Firefighters forced entry through a window, and inside the house police officers found Mr Cheung's body in the living room. He had been beaten and strangled, probably with a wire.

Interpreters had to be called in to speak to Merseyside’s Chinese community and appeal leaflets were printed in Cantonese and Mandarin. In June 2004 police made an appeal for Qing Yu Kong, also from Birkenhead, to come forward to help with the investigation. The 50-year-old was eventually charged with Mr Cheung's murder in 2009, alongside another man, Ba Fei Jhu, 54.

The prosecution argued it was Kong and Jhu who were heard shouting at Mr Cheung's address on the night of the murder. However, the pair were found not guilty following a three-week trial in December 2009.

Since then, the investigation into Mr Cheung's murder has gone cold, with no significant updates in 15 years.

Kevin Clague, Head of Merseyside Police Serious Case Review Unit, said: “We know how difficult it must be for families and friends who don’t get the answers they deserve when they lose a loved one.

“Twenty years may have passed but we are still committed to investigating any new and significant evidence that comes to light in relation to this murder investigation. Anyone who has information but hasn’t yet come forward is urged to do so either directly to Merseyside Police or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Don't miss the biggest and breaking stories by signing up to the Echo Daily newsletter here