'Sexual element' in Saudi prince's servant killing

CCTV of Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud and his servant was shown at the Old Bailey

A Saudi prince murdered his servant in an attack which had a "sexual element", the Old Bailey has heard.

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

The court was told Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud had carried out several assaults on the victim before he died.

Mr al Saud, 34, admits manslaughter but denies murder and one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The jury has been asked to decide whether he is guilty of manslaughter or murder.

When the body was found the prince claimed his aide had been attacked and robbed three weeks before his death.

But the jury was told Mr al Saud carried out the killing - and injuries including bite marks to Mr Abdulaziz's face showed the "ferocity of the attack to which he had been subjected".

Bandar Abdulaziz, who was found beaten and strangled to death in the Landmark Hotel, in central London Bandar Abdulaziz was found beaten and strangled in the Landmark Hotel

The prince has claimed he was "friends and equals" with his servant and denied being gay.

Jonathan Laidlaw QC, prosecuting, said: "The evidence establishes quite conclusively that he is either gay or that he has homosexual tendencies.

"It is clear that his abuse of Bandar was not confined simply to physical beatings.

"There is clear evidence, over and above the bite marks, that there was also a sexual element to his mistreatment of the victim."

The court heard that the prince and his aide had been staying together at the hotel since 20 January as part of an extended holiday.

Mr Abdulaziz's body was found with blood on the pillow and the defendant appeared "shocked and upset", the court heard.

Mr al Saud told police officers they had been drinking in the hotel bar until the early hours of the morning before returning to the room and that when he woke at about 1500 GMT he could not rouse the victim.

The prince had tried to clean up some of the blood and wash some of Mr Abdulaziz's bloodstained clothing, Mr Laidlaw said.

'Sexual connotation'

Bloodstains found in the room were "consistent with the victim having been the subject of a series of separate assaults before he was killed", the jury heard.

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud (Left) The prince admits killing his servant but denies murder

Asked by police about the injuries suffered by the victim, Mr al Saud said he had been robbed three weeks earlier on Edgware Road, in central London.

But CCTV footage showed the prince attacking his servant in the lift of the hotel on two separate occasions in previous weeks and kicking him outside a restaurant on the night of his death.

The post-mortem examination showed Mr Abdulaziz had suffered heavy blows to his head and face, leaving his left eye closed and swollen, his lips split and his teeth chipped and broken.

There were also injuries to his neck, ears and internal organs, bleeding to the brain and a rib fracture.

"There were bite marks to his cheeks, which had 'an obvious sexual connotation," Mr Laidlaw said.

The case continues.

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