Saudi prince 'not in gay relationship with murder victim'

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The lawyer for a Saudi prince accused of murder today denied that he and the alleged victim were in a gay relationship.

Jurors have heard that Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud killed Bandar Abdulaziz, 32, in the London hotel room they shared in February this year.

Prosecutors allege that it was a ferocious attack which had a "sexual element".

Dobomir Dimitrov, a porter from the Landmark Hotel in Marylebone, central London, who went to the men's room during their stay, said: "I would describe them as a gay couple."

But the prince's barrister John Kelsey-Fry QC said in cross-examination: "It is not accepted that this was in fact a gay couple - but I readily accept that you had the impression they were a gay couple."

Mr Dimitrov, who is gay himself, said they were not behaving like two heterosexual men in the way that they were hanging up their clothes in colour-coded order on hangers he brought to the room.

He said of the taller of the two men, who was black: "It was impossible not to notice that he was homosexual."

Mr Kelsey-Fry said: "You had an effeminate gay man sharing a room with another man and colour coding their clothing?"

"Yes," Mr Dimitrov replied.

"That is why you were led to the impression of them being a gay couple?" asked Mr Kelsey-Fry.

"Yes," the witness answered.

The prince, 34, admits killing Mr Abdulaziz but denies murder and a separate charge of grievous bodily harm with intent relating to an alleged assault in a lift at the hotel weeks before.

The court today heard further details of the two men's activities in the period leading up to the alleged murder.

They had come to Britain to stay one night at the Landmark hotel at the end of December before travelling to the Maldives.

The prince had travelled on a business class ticket costing £3,647.80 and Mr Abdulaziz in economy for a fare of £891.60.

The men had returned to stay at the hotel on January 20, dining that night at the Nobu restaurant in Berkeley Street, central London.

Rene Castillo, a hotel porter, said they went to "fine dining restaurants".

The shorter of the two men, who would chat with him, was "quite generous" leaving tips, Mr Castillo said.

Michel Lengui, deputy manager at Scalini's restaurant where the two men dined with a third man on January 24, said: "One of them looked a bit effeminate and therefore I assumed they might have been gay."

The dinner took place two days after the alleged assault on Mr Abdulaziz captured on CCTV.

George Rodrigues, a barman at the restaurant, said one of the men was "very quiet" and was wearing sunglasses which he found "really strange", as well as a black woolly hat.

"He had swelling to his lips and he appeared to be having difficulty as he was eating his food. He kept his head down and never really looked at me directly in the face at any time," he said.