Body in suitcase trial Man ‘assumed victim’s identity to pay off gambling debts’
Thursday 13th April 2017 @ 10:05 by Adam Higgins
Longdendale News

The man accused in the ‘Body in a Suitcase’ murder assumed his victim’s identity following his death, in order to access his money and pay off gambling debts, a court has heard.

In the weeks before his arrest on October 20 last year, Ming Jiang (pictured), who was a prolific gambler, had access to the deceased Yang Liu’s bank accounts and moved over £40,000 through them, as well as attempting to sell Mr Liu’s apartment.

One message accessed from Jiang’s phone shows him telling a friend that he had lost £25,000 in one night playing punto, while he offers a loan to a friend in another.

“How much you need?” it read, “call me.” When the friend, ‘Steve’ arrives at the Casino, Jiang sent a second message: “Come upstairs before I lose it all.”

Reading through Jiang’s finances, prosecutor Peter Wright QC told the jury that from October 8, three days after Mr Liu was last seen, approximately £22,000 was moved into the deceased’s bank accounts, with a similar amount also being moved out.

“The list of total withdrawals from Mr Liu’s accounts between the 5 – 24 October includes £178,000 worth of Casino chips,” he said. “In addition to this, Ming Jiang also recovered two watches from pawn shops with £15,000 in £50 notes, which he had pledged for just under that amount days before.”

Receipts seized during a police search of Mr Liu’s Media City flat also show activity in his accounts after his body was found on 10 October, including a deposit of £5,250 into a Halifax account, on October 18.

It is believed Jiang used the apartment as well as his own in the weeks up to his arrest on October 20, as a phone was found charging with his fingerprint on the screen. Crime scene investigators also found a pair of rubber gloves in the flat, which Jiang bought from Marks and Spencer’s on October 11, along with cleaning cloths and Dettol wipes.

The jury were also read a statement by a neighbour of Mr Liu, who told police that a man fitting Jiang’s description and a second man got into the apartment’s lift with her, between October 14 and 21.

The neighbour said the first man, thought to be Jiang, got out of the lift with her, and went to Mr Liu’s flat, so she assumed he was new. Later that day, he is alleged to have knocked on the door, and asked her where the bins were, and what the code for the main entrance was.

On October 12, Jiang, who had been using the mobile associated with Mr Liu, made a phone call to Open Rent lettings, and requested to see a flat in the SK4 post code area of Stockport. The following day, Mr Wright told jurors, Jiang rang his landlord, and gave him his months’ notice, as he planned to move out of his Beswick flat by November 15.

Jiang is accused of murdering his wealthy friend and dumping his dismembered body in a lay-by near Tintwistle. He denies the murder of Mr Liu between October 4 and 11 last year.

The trial at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester continues, with the jury expected to be sent out to consider their verdicts today (Thursday).

 

By James Stirr