The Reuters new service reports that a court in Newcastle, UK has convicted a restaurant worker for the brutal murder of a Chinese graduate couple last year over their part in an Internet betting issue .
The court found that Guang Hui Cao (31) killed Xi Zhou and Zhen Xing Yang, both aged 25, at their flat in August 2008, and then mutilated their bodies.
Judge Justice Wilkie recommended that the accused serve a minimum term of 33 years, describing his crimes as "of exceptionally high seriousness" that would have involved "horrifying and barely imaginable suffering."
Zhou was found lying face-down on her bed. Cao had bound her wrists with tape and then hit her over the head with a heavy weapon, possibly a hammer.
A piece of towelling was stuffed into her mouth, which had been taped shut, and she suffocated around 90 minutes after the ordeal began, the Press Association reported. Yang was discovered in the other bedroom, having been hit with a hammer in the face and head. His throat had been slashed.
The court heard evidence that the young couple could have been killed for their part in a lucrative Internet betting operation which saw GBP 233 000 pounds pass through their bank accounts in three years.
Deceased Yang was involved in sending information from live football matches to Chinese gamblers who benefited from a TV time delay of several seconds, allowing them to bet on events already knowing the outcome, the court heard.
In his defence, Cao claimed he had been blackmailed into unwittingly helping to set up the couple's deaths after threats were made to his family in China. He admtted he was in the flat when they were killed, but was tied up and locked in the bathroom, and claimed that masked gunmen had burst into the house and killed Yang because he made someone "unhappy" with his behaviour.