Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'I Was Blackmailed to Help Murderers' Defendant Told His Parents Would Die

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'I Was Blackmailed to Help Murderers' Defendant Told His Parents Would Die

Article excerpt

Byline: Rob Kennedy

For full coverage w w w. j o u r n a l l i ve . ACHINESE man accused of killing two students says he was unwittingly blackmailed into helping others carry out the murder.

Guang Hui Cao says he was ordered to co-operate with a number of demands or face the possibility of his parents being killed in his native China.

Prosecutors claim Cao murdered Zhen Xing Yang - known as Kevin - and his girlfriend Xi Zhou, nicknamed Cici, at their home in Croydon Road, Arthurs Hill, Newcastle.

But Cao told jurors he was in discussions to move into a spare room at the pair's flat when someone left a mobile phone on his doorstep and began ringing him on it telling him they needed 'some favours'.

He said a man then contacted him on the phone and directed him to some pictures on the phone of his parents in China and implied if he did not co-operate with their demands, his parents might die in a drink-driving accident.

Cao said he was scared by the threats and agreed to a request that he move into the Croydon Road flat as quickly as possible and take with him a number of items including a hammer, nails, gloves and sticky tape. He also said he was told to leave his key outside the front door on the night the killings are alleged to have taken place.

The 31-year-old restaurant worker said he was tied up and thrown in the bathroom by three hooded raiders and only found out what happened to Kevin and Cici days later.

Speaking through an interpreter, Cao said: "I felt I had no choice but to co-operate with these men because of what had been said about my parents.

"They asked me to do some small favours and said 'don't worry we are not going to ask you to commit murder or arson'. They asked me about Kevin and Cici and asked me to buy a number of things including gloves, nails, a hammer and sticky tape but I was not told why I had to make these purchases and it did not occur to me they would be used for violent purposes." Cao, of Castle Close, Morpeth, says he received a number of other phone calls from the mystery caller. He says he was told to move into the room as quickly as he could and to find out as much as possible about the pair and their associates. …

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