Man found guilty of Chinese student murders

A restaurant worker was found guilty today of the murder of two Chinese graduates in their home.

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

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court found the 31-year-old guilty of two counts of murder today after a three-week trial.







The popular couple, known by their anglicised names of Kevin Yang and Cici Zhou, were discovered by friends two days after they were killed in their flat.

Miss Zhou was found lying face down on a bed. Her killer had bound her wrists with tape and then hit her over the head with a heavy weapon, possibly a hammer.

A piece of towelling was stuffed into her mouth, which had been taped shut, and she suffocated around 90 minutes after the ordeal began.

Mr Yang was discovered in the other bedroom, having been hit with a hammer in the face and head. His throat was slashed despite him being unconscious already.

The court heard that the couple could have been killed for their part in a lucrative internet betting operation which saw £233,000 pass through their bank accounts in three years.

Mr Yang was involved in sending information from live football matches to Chinese gamblers who benefited from a TV time delay of several seconds, allowing them to bet on events already knowing the outcome.

He also supplied fake education certificates and other documents to Chinese students who wanted to enrol on education courses in the UK, or get jobs on returning to China.

Cao, of Castle Close, Morpeth, Northumberland, had pretended he wanted to sub-let a room in their flat to make contact with the popular couple before killing them.

After the murder, he changed his clothes and fled from the property with laptop computers and mobile phones which linked him to the couple.

The phones were found dumped in a nearby park by two boys, with the batteries and Sim cards missing.

They were handed to police after the murders were featured on the Crimewatch programme, and police discovered phone contacts between the couple and Cao.

He was arrested at his home and police discovered a flake of Mr Yang's blood on Cao's glasses, while more blood was found in two recesses of Cao's watch.

In his defence, Cao claimed he had been blackmailed into unwittingly helping to set up the couple's deaths after threats were made to his family in China.

He said he was in the flat at Croydon Road when they were killed, but was tied up and locked in the bathroom.

He said masked gunmen burst into the house and killed Mr Yang because he made someone "unhappy" with his behaviour.

He said he was afraid to contact police because he was frightened that his parents would be harmed if he came forward, and because he had stayed in the UK illegally after his student visa expired in 2003.

Miss Zhou came to Britain as a student in June 2005, while her boyfriend arrived in 2003 and met her in Newcastle after he studied English and accounting in Cardiff.

The couple have been buried together in China. Their families watched the trial with an interpreter through a video link.

Miss Zhou's father, Sanbao Zhou, said he felt "as if the sky had fallen on us" when he heard about his daughter's death.

"We nurtured her for 25 years and now she is suddenly gone. Words alone cannot possibly convey the harm that has been done to our family.

"There is an ancient Chinese saying: 'The most suffering one can go through in one's life consists of losing one's mother when one is still young, losing one's wife in the prime of one's life and losing one's children in one's old age'.

"This is especially true when one's child has been murdered. For us, anger and sadness is mingled together."

Mr Yang's mother, ShuZhen Qu, said a "great deal of harm" had been done to both herself and her husband.

"This person did not just kill two people, he has killed two families. If this had not happened, we expected our son to return to China and the lives of our entire family would have been very different.

"We have now been sentenced to go to hell. Our family will never be able to have any future generations," she said.







Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried