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Chinese man found guilty of murdering British author

world Updated: Jan 17, 2009 08:46 IST
AFP
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A Chinese man was convicted of killing a wealthy British author at his home in an upmarket district of London in a bid to seize control of his fortune.

Wang Yam, 47, was found guilty on Friday at London's Central Criminal Court of battering Allan Chappelow, 86, to death in 2006 before obtaining bank transfers worth USD 29,000 and handling four stolen cheques.

In an unprecedented step, all of the defence case was held in private for national security reasons and a court order has been imposed banning speculation about these issues.

Chappelow, an expert on Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, was a recluse who had lived in the same ramshackle four million pound house in Hampstead, north London, for 72 years. His body was found there under a pile of papers.

Wang Yam claimed to have fled China for Hong Kong following the Tiananmen Square killings in 1989 and sought asylum in Britain in 1992.

He was over a million pounds in debt in 2006 and facing eviction from the flat he shared with his pregnant girlfriend.

Following the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Peter Lansdown, who worked on the case, said: "There is nothing to suggest that Wang Yam knew Allan Chappelow prior to breaking into his house...

"But on seeing Mr Chappelow's bank statements, I believe he saw what he thought was a large sum of money that he could tap into and was prepared to kill Mr Chappelow in a bid to get his hands on that money.