Gu Kailai murder verdict to be delivered Monday
A Chinese court will deliver a verdict in the murder trial of Gu Kailai (photo), the wife of disgraced politician Bo Xilai, on Monday. Gu is accused of killing British businessman Neil Heywood following a dispute over money.
REUTERS – A Chinese court is due to deliver its verdict, and likely sentence, on Monday in a case against Gu Kailai over the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, in the latest chapter in a scandal that toppled her once-powerful politician husband, Bo Xilai.
She has admitted the killing. If, as expected, she is found guilty, it should push a key piece of an ugly political scandal into the background for the ruling Communist Party ahead of a transition of top leaders expected later this year.
“It’s set for next Monday at 9 in the morning,” a court spokeswoman said by telephone on Friday from the Intermediate People’s Court in Hefei, where Gu’s 7-hour trial was held on Aug. 9.
Chinese courts usually issue verdicts and sentences at the same hearing.
At her trial, Gu said that she turned on Heywood, a family friend who helped her son Bo Guagua go to school in England, after she concluded that he had threatened her son, state media accounts have said.
A day after Gu’s trial, four policemen from Chongqing admitted in the same court to trying to cover up the murder.
Bo was sacked as Chongqing boss in March and his wife was publicly accused of the murder in April, when Bo was dumped from the Politburo and detained on an accusation he had violated party discipline - code for corruption, abuse of power and other misdeeds.
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, 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.
A verdict would also be delivered for Zhang Xiaojun, tried as an accomplice in the murder last November in Chongqing.
The murder scandal erupted after former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun dramatically sought temporary refuge in a U.S. consulate in February, just weeks after he was said to have confronted Bo with Gu’s involvement. Wang has yet to be indicted.