Verdict due in Gu Kailai Neil Heywood murder trial

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A Chinese court will deliver a verdict on Monday in the murder trial of Gu Kailai, the wife of the disgraced politician Bo Xilai, as the Communist Party moves a step closer to resolving a scandal that has threatened to overshadow China's once-a-decade leadership handover.

Gu is reported by state media to have admitted killing the British businessman Neil Heywood in a dispute over money and after he alegedly threatened her son's safety. A guilty verdict is a foregone conclusion, with only the sentence not known. It could range up to life in prison or even the death penalty, although experts do not expect Gu to receive that.

Asked if reporters could apply to attend the hearing, a court official said it would be open to the public but that all seats in the courtroom had "already been taken up". A similar tactic effectively prevented the foreign media from observing last week's trial.