Saudi Prince Gets 20 Years for London Hotel Slay

This police handout image from an elevator sercurity camera shows Saudi Arabian Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud as he attacks his servant, Bandar Abdulaziz. The prince was found guilty of murder Oct. 19, 2010 in London. (AP Photo)

A British court has sentenced a Saudi prince to at least 20 years in prison for beating and strangling one of his servants at a swank British hotel.

Justice David Bean sentenced Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud to life in prison with a 20 year minimum for the brutal assault at the Landmark Hotel in London on Feb. 15.

Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw says the prince had abused his aide in the past and that photographs stored on a mobile phone "plainly proved" that there was a "sexual element" to the abuse.

Bean says that while it is unusual for a prince to be a defendant in an murder case, "No one in this country is above the law."

The 34-year-old prince's grandfather is a brother of the current Saudi king.

Laidlaw said during arguments that the prince had abused his aide in the past, showing jurors video shot in the Landmark's elevator which appears to show the shaven-headed prince, dressed in white, throwing his 32-year-old servant around and battering him.

"The prince was fuelled by champagne and 'sex on the beach' cocktails when he bit the 32-year-old hard on both cheeks during the attack in February," the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper reported.

Al Saud would face a likely death sentence if he returned to Saudi Arabia - not because of the murder but because he is gay and homosexuality is a capital crime there.

"The murder of Mr Abdulaziz was the final act in a 'deeply abusive' master-servant relationship in which the prince carried out frequent attacks on his aide 'for his own personal gratification,'" the Telegraph said.

Al Saud originally told police that he and Abdulaziz had been drinking into the early hours of the morning, and that when he awoke at 3 p.m. he could not rouse Abdulaziz.

Jurors rejected a claim by his defense lawyer John Kelsey-Fry that the prince was guilty only of manslaughter.
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