Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 30 July 2015

Heywood murder trial verdict due

Published 17/08/2012 | 06:22

Neil Heywood's body was found in a Chongqing hotel in November 2011 (AP)
Neil Heywood's body was found in a Chongqing hotel in November 2011 (AP)

A Chinese court will deliver a verdict on Monday in the trial of ousted politician Bo Xilai's wife, accused of killing a British businessman.

Beijing lawyer Li Xiaolin said the court in the eastern city of Hefei, where the trial of Gu Kailai and a Bo family aide was held last week, would announce a judgment.

Mr Li has been hired by the family of the aide, Zhang Xiaojun.

Gu is accused of killing Neil Heywood after having a dispute over money and fearing that he had threatened her son's safety.

State media reports say Gu confessed to the killing. Zhang has been named as Gu's accessory to Mr Heywood's murder.

Gu's tightly-orchestrated trial is a step towards resolving the political turbulence before the country's once-a-decade leadership transition this fall.

Gu's arrest and the ousting of her husband, the Communist Party boss of the south-western city of Chongqing until March, sparked the biggest political turbulence in China since the bloody military crackdown on democracy protesters on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

In a lengthy account of the case, the official Xinhua News Agency has depicted Gu as a depressed woman on medication who turned wilful murderer after Mr Heywood threatened the safety of her son, Bo Guagua.

Gu lured the victim to a hotel in Chongqing, got him drunk then poured cyanide into his mouth. It says Gu and her co-defendant "confessed to intentional homicide" and appeared repentant in court during a speedy, seven-hour trial on August 9.

The murder only came to light in February when former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun suddenly fled to a US consulate and told American diplomats about his suspicions that Mr Heywood had been murdered and that Bo's family was involved.

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