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
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: SEO Account Manager

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Account Manager is requi...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant - Global Leader - FTSE 250

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: As an Associate Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Representative

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family run school photogra...

Recruitment Genius: Area Sales Manager - OTE £42,000

£28000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be joining a leading s...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map