Toronto murder charge over China student webcam death

Qian Liu Ms Liu studied in China before applying to Canadian universities

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A man has been charged with murder over the death of a Toronto university student whose last moments were caught via webcam by her boyfriend in China.

Brian Dickson, 29, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Qian Liu, 23.

Ms Liu, of Beijing, was found dead on Friday, hours after her boyfriend saw her struggle with a man who came to the door as they were chatting online.

Mr Dickson, from Toronto, is expected to appear in court on Thursday.

Police in Toronto did not reveal how they had tied Mr Dickson to the killing, and earlier, investigators said they had yet to determine the cause of death.

On Wednesday, Ms Liu's father said he was travelling to Toronto from China.

"She was our only child," said Liu Jianhui, research director of Communist Party history at the Party School of the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Only child mourned

Mr Liu said his daughter had studied at Beijing City University before moving to York University in Canada, where she met the boyfriend with whom she was chatting online on the night of her death.

"After hearing the news about Qian Liu, our family and friends were all very worried," he said.

"But we were praying for the possibility that the victim was a different person with the same name... soon we found that we could no longer reach my daughter.

"Then the Canadian police made it quite clear that it was indeed my daughter."

Ms Liu and her boyfriend were chatting at about 0100 local time (0500 GMT) when a man unknown to the boyfriend knocked on the door asking to use Ms Liu's cell phone.

She let him into her basement flat and a struggle ensued for several minutes while the friend watched in horror, police said. The web chat was shut down, and Ms Liu's IBM laptop and webcam were apparently taken from the flat.

Ms Liu was found dead on Friday morning. Her body was naked from the waist down but investigators said they had found no obvious signs of sexual assault, and no evident trauma that could have caused her death.

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