Saudi prince found guilty of murder in London
LONDON (Reuters) - A Saudi prince was found guilty on Tuesday of murdering his servant in their room at a luxury London hotel during a ferocious beating that prosecutors said had a sexual element.
The prince, Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, 34, was convicted at the Old Bailey of murdering Bandar Abdulaziz, 32.
The court had heard that the two were believed to be having some kind of sexual relationship.
Bandar Abdulaziz was found beaten and strangled in the Landmark Hotel in central London in February.
The court was told the prince had attacked him in the culminating act of a campaign of sadistic abuse, the Press Association reported.
Al Saud, who will be sentenced on Wednesday, had admitted manslaughter but denied murder.
The servant had spent the previous three years traveling as an occasional companion of the prince, whose father is a nephew of the Saudi king and whose mother is a daughter of the king.
He had suffered "a series of heavy punches or blows to his head and face", leaving his left eye closed and swollen, his lips split open and his teeth chipped and broken, prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw said.
There also were injuries to his ears and internal bruising and bleeding to the brain, as well as severe injuries to the neck consistent with manual compression, the court was told.
It was not the first time the victim had been beaten.
Closed-circuit TV cameras had caught Bandar Abdulaziz being hit by the defendant in the hotel lift on January 22 and February 5 and outside a restaurant on the night leading up to his death, Laidlaw said.
Saud said he and his servant were "friends and equals" and that he was heterosexual, jurors were told.
Laidlaw said "The evidence establishes quite conclusively that he is either gay or that he has homosexual tendencies."
(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Steve Addison)
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