Unlucky choice of friend for wealthy gambler who became murder victim
Monday 3rd April 2017 @ 21:55 by Nigel P.
Gorton & Openshaw News Tameside

 

Ming Jiang from Beswick on trial for murder at Minshull Street Crown Court accused of killing Yang Liu  following the discovery of a headless torso at Tintwistle in Derbyshire.

A picture has emerged of  the accused in the ‘Body in a suitcase’ murder trial  that opened today (3/4/17) at Minshull Street Crown Court, as that of a cruel, deceitful and callous man, beset with financial problems.

Peter Wright Q.C. prosecuting opened the case for the Crown and laid out for the Jury a tale of two friends, both Chinese nationals living in Manchester.

They came together because they shared common interests, one of which was a passion for gambling.

However, whereas the unfortunate victim, 36 -year -old Yang Liu was independently wealthy living in an expensive apartment that he owned with savings and regular support from wealthy parens in China, Ming Jiang’s situation was completely the opposite.

Here was a man that at 42 years of age was being chased by creditors, being forced to pawn valuable watches and with a serious gambling habit.

The prosecution maintain that Yang Liu’s wealth was something that the defendant took notice of and when Jiang, now 43, felt he had run out of options, he decided to kill his friend and assume his identity.

He did so to enable him to  access his victim’s wealth through his cash and credit cards and valuable possessions.

So, between October 5, the last time Yang Liu was  seen alive, and October 9, when police believe Mr Liu’s dismembered body was dumped where it was later discovered, the prosecution believe that Jiang killed his friend and then went about cutting it up in order to make identification more difficult.

He could do all of this before anybody realised Mr Liu was missing, until his remains were found in a lay-by off the A628 near Tintwistle in Derbyshire.

The remote lay-by on the A628 where the headless and limbless torso of Yang Liu was discovered

The longer Mr Lui’s body remained unidentified, the longer Jiang would have in having access to his wealth.

Police wee initially baffled as to the identity of the victim after they were alerted by a dog walker who discovered the remains in a partially burnt suitcase.

However their patient and detailed  investigative work meant that from the moment that Yang’s torso remains were found, the clock was ticking against Jiang.

Mr Wright explained to the jury how detailed trawling of CCTV and the forensic work on the torso and the suitcase put together the forensic jigsaw that eventually led them to Ming Jiang and his flat in Beswick.

He was put in the frame through identification of his car by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras that line the route on the A628.

Mr Wright also told the jury that several members of the public travelling between Sheffield and Manchester had come forward following media appeals by Debyshire Police.

These included several motorists who had witnessed a bonfire at the lay-by as they were driving past on the night of the ninth, around 11.30 pm.

One witness spoke of an unpleasant smell of sewage and rubber and flammable liquid and another of seeing two white men near the fire between the ages of 30 and 40.

The prosecution stated these men, if they were there, had not come forward, but all these sightings had helped them put a time as to when the torso in the suitcase had been left in the lay-by and set on fire.

When trawling the APNR Police discovered a  Mercedes car registration TK07 ULK travelling towards the lay-by at 23.09 and coming away at 23.26  at which Mr Wright said: “Not much time to do anything, but enough time to set a suitcase on fire.”

The first floor flat in Beswick, where forensics teams carried out tests in the investigation into the murder of Salford man Yang Lui whose dismembered and burnt body was discovered in a lay-by near Tintwistle.

He added: “We cannot say it was him at the lay-by, but we can say that this means the car visited the site at the time of the fire.”

The court heard how forensic scenes of crimes specialists lifted tyre and foot prints from the lay-by which would then link Jiang’s car further with the site.

Then the jury was told how Jiang came to the police’s attention as a person of interest following his car being impounded for having no insurance on October 19, 2016.

A Derbyshire police forensics van  at the rear of the of Murder suspect Ming Jiang’s apartment block in Beswick

When police checked Jiang’s Mercedes car tyres they found that the treads matched those found at the lay-by in Tintwistle.

Further CCTV investigations by police showed a man leaving his address in Beswick and travelling to Asda near the Etihad stadium to withdraw money using Mr Liu’s cash card.

Other evidence offered by the prosecution will include CCTV of  Jiang near Mr Liu’s apartment in Salford Quays.

Camera evidence puts Jiang at B&Q on October 7, buying paint and cleaning products using Mr Liu’s bank card.

Then on October 8, Jiang is picked out at the BP garage in Ardwick buying petrol in a container and returns on the next day at the same petrol station before travelling out to Derbyshire.

The Prosecution claim images show Jiang going to the 235 casino in Manchester after the trip to the moors  and on the same evening £800 was taken form Mr Liu’s Premier account. A receipt for the withdrawal was later found in Jiang’s bag the prosecution claim.

Jiang is seen leaving the 235 casino at 4-45 am in the morning and then seen walking towards Mr Liu’s apartment and seen leaving the flat carrying something which Mr Wight said: “was the process of making the most of the death of Yang Liu, he did this on a number of occasions.”

On the 19th of October Jiang is approached in a restaurant about the ownership of his car which is found to be on a public highway uninsured.

The vehicle is impounded and he is questioned as to whether  the vehicle has been used in the past two weeks and Jiang said he believed it had been used by a friend of his, Jimmy Wong who had now departed for Italy.

Mobile telephone experts examining Jiang’s phone say there is evidence that an entry in the contacts  revealed that ‘J Wong’ had been entered after the 19th of October, which they say is evidence of Jiang trying to lay a false trail for police and J Wong the prosecution says is in fact Jiang’s alter ego.

During the time just after Yang Liu’s disappearance the prosecution revealed that  Mr Liu’s mother in China had tried to contact her son. She received a text allegedly sent by Jiang who they say was in possession of Mr Liu’s phone saying: “I OK.”

The Court was adjourned and the Prosecution will continue with the rest of their opening statement tomorrow morning.

Mr Jiang denies the charge of Murder.