Chimes needs section editors for the 2014-15 academic year. Apply here.

Chinese forensic scientist questions convictions in death of British businessman

Gu Kailai was convicted for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. File photo.
Gu Kailai was convicted for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. File photo.

China’s top government forensic scientist has publicly questioned the conviction of Gu Kailai for the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Wang Xuemei, who is also an official of the Supreme People’s Procuratorate in China, made her opinion on the case public when she shared it through a blog post.

She added there was a serious amount of evidence lacking in the testimonies. The post was later deleted.

Before it was removed Wang told the Guardian, “I don’t care how long the blog is up there. I just want to tell people I feel humiliated. I think Chinese criminal doctors are such idiots. I have done my duty and fulfilled my historical responsibility.”

Neil Heywood was murdered in the Southwest metropolis of Chongquing in November of 2011. He was found dead in a hotel room.

Last month Gu Kailai, also the wife of prominent Chinese politician Bo Xilai, was found guilty of murdering Heywood by cyanide poisoning.

According to Wang, the testimonies given in court have misled officials about what really took place.

“I feel very pained, upset and scared that our court believed the theory [Heywood] was poisoned with cyanide,” Wang shared during the interview.

Wang further stated that the testimonies given about the poisoning is not the medical reaction someone would have to cyanide.

“Cyanide poisoning would have caused lightning fast asphyxia spasms and a heart attack and turned his heart attack and turned his skin and blood bright red, which investigators would easily have spotted,” Wang Xuemei told BBC.

The official account given at the trial states Gu and an aide fed family friend and business associate Heywood cyanide after getting him drunk in a hotel room.

Wang’s writing adds to doubts that have been raised about the trial since it began.

During Gu’s trial, officials claimed Heywood met the Bo family less than ten years ago. But friends of Heywood said that he became close to the family in the Chinese city of Dalian in the 1990s.

The public has not only questioned the relationship between the Bo family and Neil Heywood but exactly how Heywood’s death occurred has been unclear as well.

BBC’s Damian Grammaticas in Beijing said, “From the very start there have been doubts about the official version of Neil Heywood’s death.”

Heywood’s death was originally blamed on excessive alcohol consumption. This explanation was accepted by his family.

However, in February, Police Chief Wang Lijun left the city after disagreeing with Bo, Gu’s husband. Wang Lijun claimed that Mr. Heywood was murdered.

Lijun was later charged by the court for covering evidence.

Courtroom officials said Gu decided to murder Heywood because he continued to threaten her son, demanding he pay 14 million pounds ($22 million), which Heywood felt was owed to him after an unsuccessful business deal.

The fate of Bo and where he stands in this case is still uncertain. In the spring, the China state news media revealed he was being investigated for serious disciplinary actions. Since then he has been suspended from his position in the Communist Party.

Gu Kailai was given a suspended death sentence; her aide, Zhang Xiaojun was jailed for his part in the murder, while police chief Wang Lijun received a 15 year sentence for abuse of power and other offenses.

Forensic scientist Wang Xuemei did not take part in the trial or in the examination of evidence.

Wang’s basis for her accusations corresponds to the inconsistencies and holes in the testimonies, narratives and evidence presented in the court.

Wang ended her post saying, “These facts can’t help but make one doubt.”

Comments