Prominent Chinese politician's wife accused of Wandsworth man's murder
11:00am Tuesday 17th April 2012 in News
A prominent Chinese politician’s wife is suspected of murdering a Wandsworth-born businessman found dead in a Chinese hotel room last year.
News reports indicated last week that Neil Heywood, 41, a father-of-two who grew up in Battersea, may have been killed by Gu Kailai, the wife of Communist boss Bo Xilai.
Mr Heywood, a former student at exclusive Harrow School, was found dead in a hotel room in the city of Chongquing, south-west China, on November 14 last year.
Official reports at the time attributed the business consultant’s death to alcohol poisoning, but the news of Ms Gu’s arrest has prompted a high-profile investigation into how he died.
The Mail on Sunday alleged that a henchman of Mr Bo's dosed Mr Heywood with cyanide at the hotel - just a tiny amount of poison can be deadly.
It was also claimed the Briton may have had an affair with Mrs Gu and had helped her siphon nearly £800 million of assets overseas.
During his youth Mr Heywood lived in South Lodge, a large stately home, in Latchmere Road with his mother Anne, sister Leonie and father Peter - who died from a heart attack in 2004.
In December last year, a funeral was held for Mr Heywood at St Mary's Church in Battersea which was attended by more than 100 people.
Speaking outside her home in Streatham last week, Mrs Heywood told reporters: "I’m horrified. This has come as a total shock."
"All I want to say is that I’m shocked at the news", adding the reopening of the case by China was 'very interesting'."
When asked about the allegations Prime Minister David Cameron described the case as "very disturbing, very tragic".
He said: "We asked the Chinese to investigate and are pleased they are doing that,"
Along with Mrs Gu, 53, Chinese authorities have also arrested Zhang Xiaojun, an orderly at Mr Bo’s home, on suspicion of Mr Heywood’s murder.
Meanwhile, Mr Bo, 62, has been suspended from the Communist Party and is under investigation for "serious disciplinary violations".
The couple are prominent members of Chinese high society.
Did you know Mr Heywood? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 87226343