Body-in-suitcase trial: Gambler jailed for murdering friend

Image source, Greater Manchester Police
Image caption,
Ming Jiang (left) tried to assume the identity of fellow Chinese national Yang Liu

A gambler who murdered a friend to claim his identity and clear huge debts has been jailed and faces deportation.

Ming Jiang was being hounded by creditors when he killed fellow Chinese national Yang Liu, 36.

He then dumped Mr Liu's dismembered body in a suitcase near a lay-by in the Peak District.

Jiang, 43, was found guilty earlier at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court. He was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 33 years.

As a foreign national, he faces automatic deportation from the UK.

Image caption,
Yang Liu's dismembered body was found dumped in a suitcase and set alight near a remote lay-by

The trial heard Jiang used Mr Liu's bank and credit cards to withdraw thousands of pounds in the two weeks after the killing in October 2016.

Records from casinos in Manchester showed he had bought £178,000-worth of gambling chips and had accumulated losses of £273,000.

He also reclaimed watches worth £16,000 from pawnbrokers and tried to sell Mr Liu's £220,000 apartment at Salford Quays.

Mr Liu was "comfortably off", while his friend Jiang was living in a one-bedroom flat in Beswick, Manchester, and struggling with debt, the court heard.

Jiang murdered Mr Liu before cutting his head and limbs off and putting his torso in a suitcase, the prosecution said.

Image source, GMP
Image caption,
Jiang contacted Mr Liu's family on social media and, pretending to be his friend, reassured them he was safe

The case was then dumped and set alight, before being found by walkers near the A628 Woodhead Pass at Tintwistle, Derbyshire, on 10 October.

Officers found evidence of an "extensive clean-up", involving paint and cleaning products, at Jiang's home, police said.

But traces of the victim's blood were found on the ceiling, in the bath and on a settee.

Prosecutor Peter Wright, QC, said Mr Liu's head, lower arms and lower legs had never been found.

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