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Asia-pacific

Bo's wife admits to Heywood killing, cites 'breakdown'

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-08-11

The wife of disgraced political star Bo Xilai has confessed to murdering British businessman Neil Heywood claiming "mental breakdown", Chinese media reported Friday. Gu Kailai was accused along with an aide of poisoning Heywood in November last year.

REUTERS - The Chinese woman accused of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood admitted guilt and blamed a mental breakdown for the events that brought her to trial and toppled her once-powerful politician husband, Bo Xilai, state media said on Friday.

The first extended comments on the case from Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, appeared in a Xinhua news agency account which said she and a household aide, Zhang Xiaojun, had “confessed to intentional homicide” in poisoning Heywood in November.

“I will accept and calmly face any sentence and I also expect a fair and just court decision,” Gu told her trial on Thursday, according to the Xinhua account, which could not be independently verified.

“This case has been like a huge stone weighing on me for more than half a year. What a nightmare,” Gu said.

But the state media account of Gu’s testimony also repeated her argument that she turned on Heywood, a long-time family friend who had helped her son Bo Guagua go to school in England, only after she concluded he was a threat to her son.

“During those days last November, I suffered a mental breakdown after learning that my son was in jeopardy,” Gu said. “The tragedy which was created by me was not only extended to Neil, but also to several families.”

The latest official account from the scandal that has beset China’s ruling Communist Party came on the same day that four Chinese policemen admitted to attempting to shield Gu from suspicion of the murder of Heywood, an official said, in another damaging development for the ex-Politburo member.

Bo was sacked as Chongqing boss in March and his wife was publicly accused of Heywood’s murder in April, when Bo was also dumped from the Politburo and detained on an accusation he had violated party discipline - code for corruption, abuse of power and other misdeeds.

Until then, Heywood’s death had been attributed to a possible heart attack brought on by too much alcohol.

Bo’s downfall has stirred more public division than that of any other party leader for more than 30 years. To leftist supporters, Bo became a charismatic rallying figure for efforts to reimpose party control over dizzying and unequal market growth.

But he had made some powerful enemies among those who saw him as a dangerous opportunist who yearned to impose his harsh policies on the entire country.

 

Date created : 2012-08-10

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