NEIL HEYWOOD: His body was found in a Chinese hotel. GU KAILAI: Court officials said she did not contest the homicide charges against her. Picture: Reuters
Gu Kailai and her co-accused, Zhang Xiaojun, could face the death penalty if found guilty of killing Neil Heywood, a family friend, by poisoning in 2011.
Gu is the wife of former high-flying politician Bo Xilai, whose career was ended by the scandal surrounding the death.
Gu, herself a prominent lawyer, is on trial along with her aide, who was described by the court as an accomplice.
Outside the court, official Tang Yigan said Gu and Zhang "did not raise objections to the facts and the charges of intentional homicide".
Mr Tang said the prosecution alleged Gu was involved in a business dispute with Mr Heywood, believed he had "threatened the personal safety of her son ... and decided to kill him".
Prosecutors alleged Gu had arranged for Mr Heywood to travel to Chongqing from Beijing, accompanied by Zhang. Zhang carried the poison which allegedly killed Mr Heywood.
Gu spent the evening in November with Mr Heywood at the Nanshan Lijing Holiday Hotel, where they drank tea and alcoholic drinks.
The statement added: "After Heywood became intoxicated, vomited and asked for a drink of water, she poured a poison into his mouth that had been prepared beforehand and that she had given to Zhang Xiaojun to bring along, causing Heywood's death.
"The facts are clear and backed by ample evidence."
Foreign media were banned from the court session.
Mr Heywood's body was found at the hotel in Chongqing, where Mr Bo was the Communist Party chief, in November 2011.
Mr Bo 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. The politician, who was a favourite of party leftists by promoting himself as a friend of the poor and an enemy of corruption, was sacked as Chongqing party chief in March after his police chief, Wang Lijun, identified Gu as a suspect in Heywood's death.
He has not been seen in public since the formal investigation into his wife was announced.
It is believed four police officers will go on trial accused of trying to protect Gu from prosecution.
The trial and sentencing of both Gu and Zhang are widely seen as a prelude to a possible criminal prosecution of Mr Bo, who is being detained for violating party discipline – an accusation that covers corruption, abuse of power and other misdeeds.
Yesterday, there was no sign of Gu's elderly mother, nor of any members of Mr Heywood's family at the courtroom.
The court has adjourned to consider its verdict.
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