Drowned cat found in flat of murdered Chinese couple

Police investigating the murder of two Chinese graduates in Newcastle have found a drowned cat in the couple's bathroom.

Detectives said forensic examinations were under way into the killing of Xi Zhou and her boyfriend Zhen Xing Yang, both 25, who were found in their flat in the West End of the city on Saturday.

The cat, black with white markings, was found in a bowl filled with water and covered with a towel and gloves. It is undergoing a post-mortem examination.

Detective Superintendent Steve Wade said Mr Yang, also known as Kevin, suffered bruising to his arms up to an hour before he was killed. The injuries were likely to have been inflicted as he tried to protect his head. "He has certainly been subjected to an extensive assault, which has caused significant bruising," Det Supt Wade said.

Mr Yang and Ms Zhou, who was known as Cici and worked as a waitress at the Wagamama restaurant in Newcastle, suffered head injuries caused by a knife and another sharp weapon.

Police have contacted Mr Yang's family in Dalian City, China. They have ruled out any Triad or drug links and have checked the couple's bank accounts. "At this stage we have no motive as to why these two people... should be attacked with such brutality," said Det Supt Wade. "Sometimes the police hold news conferences like this and go through the motions with the media when they already have it in the bag, but this really is an undetected homicide."

An offender-profiling expert is helping the investigation. Police have also checked airport and port passenger lists for suspicious movements since Ms Zhou was last seen on Thursday.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power