Chinese media: Pol's wife ready to accept fate

Gu Kailai (left) wife of then Chinaese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai attends a memorial ceremony for Bo's father Bo Yibo at a military hospital in Beijing on Jan. 17, 2007.
AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan

(CBS/AP) BEIJING - After a quick and secretive trial for the murder of a British businessman, the wife of disgraced former Communist Party boss Bo Xilai still awaits her fate.

In the most extensive report on the trial to date, state media reported that Gu Kailai had "confessed to the intentional murder" of Neil Heywood, apologized for the "tragedy" she caused and was ready to accept her punishment.

The account described her as having been depressed and fearful that Heywood, her business associate, would harm her family — factors that may bring leniency when she is likely convicted and sentenced.

Gu and a household aide, Zhang Xiaojun, were accused of poisoning Heywood with cyanide last November after having a dispute over economic interests.

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Gu's arrest and the ouster of her husband as Chongqing party chief in March sparked the biggest political turbulence in China since the putdown of the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989. Her tightly orchestrated trial was a step toward resolving the scandal before the party's once-a-decade leadership transition this fall.

The court in Hefei in eastern China's Anhui province said a verdict against Gu and Zhang, who was accused as an accomplice, would be delivered later. Their trial was followed Friday by the trial of four senior Chinese police officers accused of helping Gu cover up the crime.

Xinhua said Gu accepted all the facts in the indictment, saying: "The tragedy which was created by me was not only extended to Neil, but also to several families."

Gu said Heywood wrote a letter of self-introduction in about 2005 when her son Bo Guagua was studying in Britain. They then got involved in a failed land project. According to Xinhua, she said Heywood later got into a dispute with her and her son over payment and other issues and that she "believed Heywood had threatened the personal safety of her son and decided to kill Heywood."

It said that according to testimony that prosecutors presented in court, Gu said: "To me, that was more than a threat. It was real action that was taking place. I must fight to my death to stop the craziness of Neil Heywood."

The report did not give say why the murder then took place seven years later when Bo Guagua was a graduate student at Harvard.

Xinhua said that Zhang had also confessed and said "sorry" to the relatives of Heywood.

A guilty verdict is all but assured against the Gu and Zhang and carries the potential punishment of 10 years in prison up to a death sentence.

The report said Gu has been treated for chronic insomnia, anxiety and depression and paranoia in the past, and had unsuccessfully used various drugs to overcome those problems, and that she had "developed a certain degree of physical and psychological dependence on sedative hypnotic drugs, which resulted in mental disorders."

But it said Gu "had a clear goal and a practical motive in committing the alleged crime," shown by the preparations prior to Heywood's death, such as arranging the poison and location in an isolated hotel.

That meant, Xinhua said, that although she had "a weakened ability to control herself," Gu knew the consequences of the alleged crime and therefore "she should be identified as having the capacity to accept full criminal responsibility."

Xinhua quoted Gu as saying "the case has produced great losses to the Party and the country, for which I ought to shoulder the responsibility" and that she was grateful to the humanitarian care shown to her by those who handled the case.

"I solemnly tell the court that in order to maintain the dignity of the law, I will accept and calmly face any sentence and I also expect a fair and just court decision," she said.

The report detailed the help Gu had from four police officers in Chongqing, whose one-day trial was held in Hefei on Friday. A verdict against them will also be delivered later.

It said the four decided to say Heywood died of excessive drinking even though he was not known as a heavy drinker, and covered up Gu's presence at the scene by fabricating interview records and hiding material evidence and other measures.