'Insatiable gambler' guilty of murdering and dismembering friend

An "insatiable gambler" has been found guilty of murdering and dismembering his wealthy friend and dumping the torso in a suitcase at the roadside.

'Insatiable gambler' guilty of murdering and dismembering friend

An "insatiable gambler" has been found guilty of murdering and dismembering his wealthy friend and dumping the torso in a suitcase at the roadside.

Ming Jiang, 43, tried to solve his gambling and debt problems by killing fellow Chinese man Yang Lui, 36, before chopping up his body and stuffing the torso in a suitcase, hoping police would be unable to identify the victim.

The suitcase was found on October 10 last year by walkers just off the A628 road in Tintwistle, Derbyshire.

The other body parts have never been found.

The defendant suggested "shadowy underworld figures" may be responsible after a dispute over gambling involving his friend and a man he named as "John Wong".

A jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown rejected Jiang's account and unanimously found him guilty of murder after deliberating for less than five hours.

Jiang showed no reaction as the foreman delivered the verdict.

Sentencing will take place next Tuesday.

Judge John Potter thanked jurors for their attention in listening to a case which involved "difficult and graphic evidence" and excused them for jury service for 10 years.

The four-week trial heard the defendant was in debt while his friend was comfortably off, lived in his own £220,000 dockside apartment at Salford Quays and could afford to gamble and play the stock markets.

Jiang lived in Beswick in inner city Manchester and was being chased by creditors.

Records from casinos in Manchester showed he had bought £178,000 worth of gambling chips and had racked up accumulated losses of £273,000.

Jiang murdered his friend probably in the bathroom of his house - some time after October 4 - before cutting his victim's head and limbs off and putting the torso in a Samsonite suitcase.

He dumped the case in a remote lay-by on the Pennine moors between Manchester and Sheffield before setting it alight - then went out, using his victim's bank card to withdraw £800 to gamble at a Manchester casino, the court heard.

Jiang planned to assume his victim's identity to get his cash and sell his flat, said the prosecutor Peter Wright QC.

Photo of Ming Jiang
Photo of Ming Jiang

After his arrest on October 20 last year, Jiang claimed the two men were gay lovers and his friend was an escort paid to have sex with older Chinese men.

Mr Wright told the jury these "slurs" were merely an "elaborate smokescreen" to conceal his guilt of "murder for gain".

Detective Chief Inspector Terry Crompton, of Greater Manchester Police's Major Incident Team, said: "My thoughts are with Lui's family who have been completely torn apart by his death.

"I want to thank them for their support throughout and I'm sorry that they were not able to be here today to see this sentence due to illness.

"Not content with committing the brutal and disturbing murder of his friend, Jiang sought to hide his crimes by abandoning and burning his body before stealing his identity, emptying his bank account and trying to sell his property.

"The pain of Lui's death will haunt his family every day but I hope that him being found guilty today will help them to begin to repair the damage inflicted by Jiang's despicable crime."

Photo of Yang Liu
Photo of Yang Liu

Paying tribute to him, Liu's family said: "We could not believe that this disaster could have happened to us.

"The pain we're suffering is beyond words. We think of our son all the time and we strongly condemn the brutality of the murderer.

"Our son was warm and full of life. He was also kind. Since birth, he always wore a smile on his face. He was well loved by his family, relatives and neighbours.

"When our son is mentioned, we cry with tears running down our faces. Our physical and mental sufferings can never, ever be repaired."

Kirsty Walls, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Ming Jiang denied being involved in the murder and gave a number of conflicting accounts in his police interviews to explain away the evidence against him.

"The CPS has proved during the trial that these were elaborate and ridiculous lies to try and escape justice."

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