Saudi prince jailed for life for murder of servant

CCTV footage of the prince assaulting his servant was shown at the Old Bailey

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A Saudi prince has been jailed for life for murdering his servant at a hotel in central London.

Bandar Abdulaziz, 32, was found beaten and strangled in the Landmark Hotel, Marylebone, on 15 February 2010.

Start Quote

I think the most likely explanation is that you could not care less whether you killed him or not”

End Quote Mr Justice Bean

The Old Bailey was told the assault by Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud had a "sexual element" and he had attacked Mr Abdulaziz many times before.

Al Saud, 34, who had admitted manslaughter but denied murder, was given a minimum jail term of 20 years.

The Saudi prince was also found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent in relation to an earlier attack in a hotel lift, a charge which he had denied.

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

'Dashing' killer

Judge Mr Justice Bean said: "You were in a position of authority and trust over him which you exploited ruthlessly.

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud (l) with his servant Bandar Abdulaziz (r) The pair had just returned from a Valentine's Day night out when Al Saud launched the assault

"I think the most likely explanation is that you could not care less whether you killed him or not."

He continued: "It is very unusual for a prince to be in the dock on a murder charge.

"It would be wrong for me to sentence you either more severely or more leniently because of your membership of the Saudi royal family."

The 34-year-old was fuelled by champagne and cocktails when he bit his servant hard on both cheeks during the attack on 15 February, the court heard.

No diplomatic immunity

Jurors heard that Mr Abdulaziz was left so worn down and injured - having suffered a "cauliflower" ear and a swollen eye from previous assaults - that he let Al Saud kill him without a fight.

A gay masseur who visited him there described the "dashing" Al Saud as a cross between Omar Sharif and Nigel Havers.

The prince initially wrongly believed he had diplomatic immunity and his royal status would save him.

But he stood with his arms folded and showed no emotion as the judge told him he must serve 19 years, having already spent one on remand.

Mr Justice Bean added: "No-one in this country is above the law."

If the prince ever returns to Saudi Arabia he faces the possibility of execution, because being gay is a capital offence in that country.

He could seek asylum in Britain after his eventual release.

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