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Man charged with 'webcam' murder

A 29-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a college student whose frantic boyfriend in China watched though a webcam as she struggled with an attacker, Canadian police said.

Brian Dickson was charged with first-degree murder, Toronto police spokesman Tony Vella said. Dickson was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday morning.

Police did not release any more details but asked the media not to publish any photos of Dickson, saying it could compromise the investigation.

The body of York University student Liu Qian, 23, of Beijing, was found on Friday in her apartment in Toronto a few hours after her boyfriend witnessed the attack, police said.

She was naked from the waist down and there were no obvious signs of sexual assault or trauma severe enough to kill her. The post-mortem examination was inconclusive, and police said on Tuesday they were awaiting toxicology test results.

Dickson is not a student at York, university spokeswoman Janice Wells said.

Ms Liu was chatting with her boyfriend, Meng Xianchao, by webcam at about 1am on Friday when a man knocked on the door, police said. Mr Meng reported seeing a struggle break out between the two before Ms Liu's webcam was shut off. Mr Meng contacted other friends in Toronto who in turn called police.

The victim's father, Liu Jianhui, said his daughter studied at Beijing City University before moving to Canada, where she met Mr Meng.

York University president Mamdouh Shoukri said the community was relieved that police have arrested a suspect. In a statement, he said: "Qian Liu's death has had a profound impact on all of us at York. We appreciate the dedicated effort of Toronto Police Service and we are pleased that they have apprehended a suspect."

Liu Qian's laptop computer, webcam and mobile phone were taken from the apartment on the night of the attack, police said. Police said the online chat was on a live streaming camera and was not recorded, though investigators were trying to figure out if there was any way they could recover it.

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