19/05/2009

Man Jailed Over Chinese Couple Murder

A 31-year-old man has been jailed for life of the murder of two Chinese graduates in their Newcastle home.

Guang Hui Cao killed Xi Zhou and Zhen Xing Yang, both aged 25, at their home in Croydon Road, in the city on August 7 last year.

The 31-year-old restaurant worker, of Castle Close, Morpeth, Northumberland, had denied the killings.

Newcastle Crown court heard the couple had been involved in a lucrative betting scam, which saw £233,000 pass through their bank accounts in three years.

Miss Xi was found lying face down on a bed, with her wrists bound. She had been hit over the head with a heavy weapon, possibly a hammer.

Mr Zhen died after being repeatedly attacked with a hammer-like weapon. He also had his throat slit.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court said he was satisfied that the couple's murder was an execution.

Mr Justice Wilkie said it "involved horrifying and unimaginable suffering".

In sentencing, the judge said: "I am satisfied that this was an execution against two young people that had become embroiled in some criminal activity.

"In some way they had crossed a large criminal gang and were punished by them. They were held up as an example and murdered in a cruel and savage way.

"In the case of Miss Zhou her skull had been fractured in three places.

"She had suffered horrifying and unimaginable suffering and in this way a clear message had been sent."

(JM/BMcc)

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