11 Apr 2012

Ex-mayor's wife implicated in murder case

8:29 pm on 11 April 2012

State media in China say the wife of a former prominent Communist party leader is being investigated over the murder of a British man.

State news agency Xinhua said Gu Kailai has been transferred to the judicial authorities as part of an investigation into the death of Neil Heywood, 41, in November last year.

Her husband Bo Xilai, 62, former mayor of Chongqing, has been stripped of key posts in the ruling Communist Party.

Mr Bo had been expected to be elected to the Politburo's standing committee later this year.

The BBC reports he was one of China's most popular politicians before he was sacked in March.

After Mr Heywood's death, police said that he had died from excessive drinking and his body was cremated. However, his friends said he did not drink that much. A new investigation is being held.

Xinhua said homicide was indicated and Gu Kailai was suspected.

The BBC reports the exact nature of Mr Heywood's role and his relations with the family are unclear.