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Hampstead millionaire's killer is jailed

PUBLISHED: 12:59 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 07 September 2010

A Chinese conman who murdered a reclusive Hampstead millionaire author and stole his identity was jailed for at least 20 years today (Thursday). Wang Yam, 47, battered Allan Chappelow to death and buried his body to under half a ton of paper at the victim

A Chinese conman who murdered a reclusive Hampstead millionaire author and stole his identity was jailed for at least 20 years today (Thursday).

Wang Yam, 47, battered Allan Chappelow to death and buried his body to under half a ton of paper at the victim's £2.5 mansion on Downshire Hill.

Old Bailey judge Mr Justice Ouseley sentenced Yam to life imprisonment for murder and ordered he serve at least 20 years before he can be considered for parole.

Yam showed not a flicker of emotion as the judge said: "Mr Alan Chappelow, an 86 year-old reclusive man was battered to death in his own home. He received five severe blows to his head and further blows to his neck and ribs.

"I have no doubt those blows were inflicted with intent to kill on a defenceless man. His body was concealed under nearly half a ton of papers.

"He was murdered in the course of burglary of his house and the stealing of mail.

"On the jury's verdict the man who killed him was you.

"There was then a deliberate, persistent, greedy, amoral course of conduct in which you sought to take over the identity of the deceased.

"You were aware there was a high potential value of the items you had stolen that you planned to exploit."

Yam, who was a student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, then impersonated the 86 year-old writer over the phone to gradually take over his bank accounts and portfolio of stocks and shares.

He hoped to seize ownership of Mr Chappelow's Grade II-listed Georgian house in Downshire Hill, Hampstead, north London.

But the dissident's plan failed because of his obvious Chinese accent and the HSBC bank tipped off police about suspicious money transfers.

He fled to Switzerland after officers discovered the body but was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant after applying to marry his girlfriend Hui Dong in Zurich.

Wang Yam, of Denning Road, Hampstead, was convicted of murder and burglary at a second trial after the first jury failed to reach verdicts.

At the first trial he was convicted of handling stolen goods, dishonestly obtaining a money transfer of £20,000 by deception and theft of £20 at his first trial in March 2008.


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