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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This winner of the best new business in Shrops...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This winner of the best new business in shrops...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager - Email Marketing Services

£18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are looking for a highly or...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders