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Bo Xilai case: Doubts raised over Briton's death in China

Last updated on: September 27, 2012 21:36 IST

A Chinese forensic scientist has cast doubt on the official version of the death of a Briton, which triggered a huge political scandal, ending the career of senior Communist Party leader Bo Xilai, whose wife has been convicted of poisoning the UK businessman.

Forensic scientist Wang Xuemei told the 'BBC' that there was little evidence to show that the Briton, Neil Heywood, died from cyanide poisoning in November last as stated by prosecution.

Bo's wife Gu Kailai has been given a suspended death sentence for administering cyanide to Heywood, who she said threatened her son's security.

"However, the account given in court of how Gu killed Heywood does not tally with cyanide poisoning," Wang, who works for China's top prosecutor's office said.

Cyanide poisoning would have caused lightning-fast asphyxia, spasms and a heart attack and turned his skin and blood bright red, which investigators would easily have spotted, she said.

"A simple test for cyanide is also standard forensic practice in China, but none was presented in court," she said.

Heywood was cremated after his death.

Bo who was in the running for a top post of the Communist Party in the once in a decade leadership change has already been sacked from all top positions and expected to be tried before the Party Congress which is expected to take place in the next few days.

Gu's aide, Zhang Xiaojun, was jailed for nine years for his part in the murder, while the regional police chief, Wang Lijun, received a 15 year sentence for abuse of power and other offences, besides his defection to US Consulate in Chengdu while investigating the case.

K J M Varma in Beijing