The wife of a prominent Chinese politician, former Politburo member Bo Xilai, has admitted that she conspired with an aide to poison a British businessman in November 2011 for fear that the latter was a threat to her son, a report by China's foremost news agency said on Thursday.
Xinhua reported that Gu Kailai "confessed to intentional homicide," of Neil Heywood, whose death was initially ruled by local police authorities as heart attack that was induced be excessive alcohol intake.
Mr Heywood's body was found lifeless in a hotel located in Chongqing, a thriving Chinese metropolis that was ruled until April this year by Bo Xilai, who was eased out shortly from his post following the indictment in late March of his wife.
"I will accept and calmly face any sentence and I also expect a fair and just court decision," Xinhua quoted Ms Gu as saying during her testimony before the courts.
She reportedly disclosed too that her acts were fully motivated by intents to protect her son, identified by Chinese media as Bo Guagua, upon learning in November that "that my son was in jeopardy."
"During those days last November, I suffered a mental breakdown," Ms Gu reportedly told the court.
Official accounts allowed to be released by Beijing showed that Mr Heywood was a long-time family friend of the Bos, specifically of Ms Gu.
Local media reports also indicated that the British national, who was living in Chongqing for a number of years prior to his death, regularly helped out Ms Gu in money matters and was instrumental in bringing over the younger Bo in the United Kingdom for his education.
The two 'friends' had a falling out, earlier local reports said, which police said may have prompted Mr Bo's wife to neutralise Mr Heywood.
According to Xinhua, Ms Gu was present in the same hotel room where Mr Heywood got drunk and asked the former for a glass of water.
She responded by putting "the bottle of cyanide compound she had prepared into Heywood's mouth," and planted capsules all over the room rented by the British, presumably to lead authorities into assuming that the latter was taking drugs.
Court records, however, showed that investigators had unearthed clues of what really transpired but decided to shield Ms Gu from liabilities, purportedly with the prodding of one police official linked by probers as closely associated with the Bos.
"By falsifying interview records, concealing evidence and other means, they covered up the fact that she had been at the scene," the court trying Ms Gu's case reportedly said.
Four police officials have been indicted with Ms Gu, local media reports said, and most likely Chongqing's former police chief, Wang Lijun, would face charges soon.
It was Mr Wang who prompted more inquiry into Ms Gu's doings when earlier this year he sought the protection of the U.S. consular office based in Chongqing, allegedly fleeing the wrath of the Bos when information leaked out that police authorities were about to close in on the real culprit responsible for Mr Heywood's death.
Soon enough, Mr Bo was sacked and banished from public view, setting off what analysts said as China's most high-profile leadership scandal over the past three decades.
But the populist politician, media reports said, was also targeted for inviting the ire of top Politburo members, who viewed his radical leadership approach as a threat to the significant reforms that were largely credited for China's incredible economic expansion in the past two decades.
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