Murder accused Ming Jiang 'went on £180,000 gambling spree after cutting up friend'

A man accused of murdering his wealthy friend and dismembering his body went on an £180,000 gambling spree a few days later, a court has heard.

Ming Jiang, who was heavily in debt and being sought by creditors, bought £178,000 in chips at a casino two weeks after allegedly killing Yang Liu, a jury was told.

The court heard Jiang, 36, was an "insatiable" gambler who had racked up accumulated gambling losses of £273,115 in two Manchester casinos.

He decided to solve his debt problems by murdering Mr Liu in his Beswick flat and assume his identity to get at his cash and his £185,000 dockside apartment at Salford Quays, it is alleged.

After severing Mr Liu's head and limbs, Jiang stuffed the torso in a suitcase, set it on fire and dumped it by a roadside, hoping police would not be able to identify the victim, say prosecutors.

Jiang took his fellow Chinese national's identity, using his credit and bank cards, and obtaining his passport to begin making arrangements for a "quick sale" of Mr Liu's property, a jury heard.

Jiang used the 43-year-old victim's bank card to withdraw £800 to gamble at a casino in Manchester, the city's Minshull Street Crown Court was told.

The torso inside the burnt suitcase was found on 10 October last year by walkers just off the A628 road in Tintwistle, Derbyshire.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC, told the jury: "This was a murder done for gain. It was as cold and as ruthless as it was calculated and quite deadly.

"We say the defendant lured his gambling friend to his flat and he killed him, then set about disposing of the body and concealing his involvement before gaining access to the dead man's goods and his property with a view to solving his own insatiable gambling habits and debt problems."

Jiang was arrested at a casino on 20 October last year and found to have the dead man's phone and passport on him.

When police searched his home they discovered extensive traces of Mr Liu's blood from DNA matches, in the kitchen, on a sofa and Jiang's palm print, in the victim's blood, on a box on a table, the jury heard.

Traces of the victim's DNA were also found in the bathroom, where the body was cut up, the court was told.

Jiang claimed he and Mr Liu were gay lovers and his friend was an escort paid to have sex with older Chinese men, the jury was told.

He also suggested "shadowy underworld figures" might be responsible after a dispute over gambling involving his friend.

Jiang denies the murder and the trial was adjourned until Wednesday morning.

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