Murdered businessman Neil Heywood's mother appeals for compensation from his killer Gu Kailai

The mother of Neil Heywood releases statement to say that there has been no progress with compensation

The family of a British citizen murdered in China is seeking compensation from his convicted killer, the wife of former top politician Bo Xilai, a source close to the victim's widow said.

In one of the nation's biggest political scandals in decades, Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, was sentenced last year to life imprisonment for the poisoning of British businessman Neil Heywood in a case that also led to a corruption probe into Bo, once a candidate for China's top leadership team.

Bo was sacked as Communist Party chief of the southwestern city of Chongqing in 2012 when his wife was named as an official suspect in the November 2011 murder of Heywood, a long-time friend of the couple who also helped their son, Bo Guagua, settle into study in Britain.

At her trial in August of last year, Gu admitted to poisoning Heywood, alleging that she had acted after he had threatened her son, Bo Guagua, when a business deal turned sour, according to official accounts published by state media.

Bo is now awaiting trial on charges of corruption, taking bribes and of bending the law.

In China, it is customary for a murderer to be ordered to pay court-sanctioned compensation to the victim's family. The source said Heywood's Chinese widow, Lulu, had been pushing for compensation for herself and their two young children from Gu. Lulu and the children are believed to be still living in Beijing.

Heywood's mother, Ann Heywood, in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, said there had been no progress on seeking compensation.

"Given the circumstances of Neil's murder, I have been surprised and disappointed that, despite repeated discreet approaches to the Chinese authorities, there has been no substantive or practical response," she said.

She urged China to show "decisiveness and compassion" to ease the effects of his death on the family, especially his two children, the newspaper added.

The government originally implicated Bo in helping to cover up Heywood's murder, but the legal indictment issued last month made no mention of that and it is unclear if the case will be included in his trial, likely to start this month.

The British Embassy in Beijing said it had communicated the family's concerns about a lack of progress on the compensation request to the Chinese government.

"We've made the Chinese authorities, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, aware of the family's concerns on several occasions since the trial, most recently twice during July," said an embassy spokesman, who would not comment further.

China's Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

Chinese law stipulates that victims of crime can seek compensation from those convicted of crimes, but does not specify financial sums, which are generally decided by the courts depending on ability to pay and the nature of the crime.

While assets ordered confiscated by courts can be used for compensation, Gu's verdict - as relayed by official state media - made no mention of asset confiscation.

"Compensation should have been decided upon at the time of Gu Kailai's trial, but it appears it was not. This is very strange," said Pu Zhiqiang, a prominent human rights lawyer.

"The government can compel the sale of assets to pay compensation," he added.

"Decisions about this case have to be made single-handedly by the Communist Party's top leaders. It's not for a court or the government to decide," said He Weifang, a law professor at Peking University who has closely followed Bo's downfall.

Bo, 64, was widely seen as pursuing a powerful spot in the party's top decision-making body before his career unravelled after his former police chief, Wang Lijun, fled to a US consulate for more than 24 hours in February last year and alleged that Bo's wife Gu had killed Heywood.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Sport
Brendan Rodgers is confident that Sterling will put pen to paper on a new deal at Anfield
footballLIVE: Follow all the latest from tonight's Capital One quarter-finals
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...

Ashdown Group: Java Developer - Hertfordshire - £47,000 + bonus + benefits

£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...

Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Director - London - £70,000

£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Nationwide - OTE £65,000

£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...

Day In a Page

Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

Rebranding Christmas

More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise
Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

New system means that evergreen songs could top the festive charts
Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence

Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys

He is a musician of wondrous oddity. He is on a perpetual quest to seek the lost tribes of the Welsh diaspora. Just don't ask Gruff Rhys if he's a national treasure...