China’s Gu Given Suspended Death Sentence for Murder of Brit

Posted August 20th, 2012 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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The wife of disgraced former Communist Party leader Bo Xilai has received a suspended death sentence from a Chinese court for the murder of a British businessman. The case rocked the Communist party ahead of its once-a-decade handover.

Gu Kailai, who confessed to the killing, was convicted Monday of “intentional homicide” and sentenced to death, suspended for two years. The suspension means the death penalty will probably be commuted to life imprisonment if she commits no offenses in the next two years.

A family employee who assisted in the murder received a 9-year sentence, while four policemen accused of covering up the crimes were given sentences of between five and 11 years.

Gu told the court Monday that the verdict was just, saying it “shows special respect for the law, reality and life.”

During her trial on August 9, Gu confessed to luring Neil Heywood – her business partner at the time – to a hotel in the southwestern city of Chongqing last November, getting him drunk and poisoning him after a dispute which allegedly led him to threaten her son.

The court also found that Gu's actions reflected a “psychological impairment.”

Gu's husband, Bo Xilai, was a rising star in the Communist Party, but was removed as Chongqing party chief amid the scandal.

The case became one of China's largest political scandals in decades.