Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Year since Slaughter; Brutality of Chinese Students' Murders

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

A Year since Slaughter; Brutality of Chinese Students' Murders

Article excerpt

Byline: AI YANG

IT was the brutal doublemurder that sent shockwaves through Tyneside and around the globe.

Two promising Chinese graduates mutilated in their own flat in a motiveless execution that stunned the region.

One year ago, a global manhunt was launched as detectives tried to trace the killer of Zhen Xing Yang, known as Kevin, and his girlfriend Xi Zhou, or Cici as she was known to her friends.

A painstaking trawl through thousands of hours of CCTV footage, 6,000 checks on mobile phone records, and an appeal seen by half a billion people in China were just the start of what was to become a worldwide investigation.

Nearly nine months later a judge sentenced Guang Hui Cao, 31, of Castle Close, Morpeth, to a minimum of 33 years in prison.

Today, exactly 12 months after Zhen Xing Yang and his girlfriend Xi Zhou were executed in their own home, their families open their hearts to the Chronicle.

San Bao Zhou, Cici's father, said: "Cici was a very kind child.

She respected her family and was strict on herself. All the neighbours and relatives had a really good impression of her.

"Cici was very independent, and she had always wanted to become a teacher. When she was in kindergarten and primary school, she would go up to the front of the classroom and pretend to be a teacher." After completing a degree in English at Hunan Agricultural University in China, Cici's followed her dream of becoming a teacher. She travelled to the UK, where she decided to study Applied Linguistics at Newcastle University.

Mr Zhou said: "We had seen our daughter only once since then. It was the Chinese New Year in 2007. She came back and stayed with us for less than two weeks, before she left for Kevin's hometown in Dalian.

"She had told us many times that she wanted to come home after she finished her studies. …

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