10 Aug 2012

Murder trial now over in China

6:21 am on 10 August 2012

The trial of the wife of a former high-flying Chinese politician on a murder charge has ended after one day.

Gu Kailai did not contest the charge she murdered her British business partner, Neil Heywood, by poisoning in 2011.

A court official said the date of the verdict would be announced later.

Ms Gu is the wife of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai, whose career in office was ended by the scandal surrounding Mr Heywood's death.

Ms Gu, 53, herself a prominent lawyer, was on trial with an aide, Zhang Xiaojun, who was described by the court as an accomplice.

The BBC reports two British diplomats were in court to observe the trial, but no foreign media were given permission to attend.

The two face a possible death penalty if found guilty.

The trial was held in the Intermediate People's Court in Hefei, Anhui province.

The Xinhua news agency later reported that four police officers would go on trial on Friday, accused of trying to protect Ms Gu from prosecution.

Bo Xilai was the Communist party head in Chongqing at the time of Mr Heywood's death.

He had been seen as a strong contender for one of China's top jobs, as the country prepares to install a new generation of leaders.

But he was sacked in March and is currently under investigation for unspecified matters.

A BBC correspondent says he case raises questions about corruption at the highest level.