Man convicted over Hampstead murder
PUBLISHED: 14:22 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:51 07 September 2010
A CHINESE man faces life behind bars for torturing and bludgeoning to death a reclusive millionaire author in his Hampstead home. Wang Yam was found guilty of killing 86-year-old Allan Chappelow and left his body to rot under half a ton of paper at the d
A CHINESE man faces life behind bars for torturing and bludgeoning to death a reclusive millionaire author in his Hampstead home.
Wang Yam was found guilty of killing 86-year-old Allan Chappelow and left his body to rot under half a ton of paper at the dilapidated Downshire Hill house in May 2008.
Yam, a student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, then tried to impersonate the pensioner over the phone to seize his bank accounts and stock portfolio. Detectives believe his plan was to eventually take control of the author's £2.5million Grade II-listed Georgian house.
Police found the body of Mr Chappelow, a celebrated biographer of George Bernard Shaw, on June 14 after HSBC tipped them off about suspicious activity. The next day, 47-year-old Yam fled to Switzerland but was later extradited and arrested at Heathrow.
Investigating officer Det Chief Insp Peter Lansdown said after Friday's guilty verdict at the Old Bailey: "On seeing Mr Chappelow's bank statements I believe Yam saw what he thought was a large sum of money that he could tap into and was prepared to kill Mr Chappelow in a bid to get his hands on that money.
"It is thanks to the security of the banks and the awareness of their staff that Wang Yam was unable to get his hands on a single penny of Mr Chappelow's money and that his death was discovered, ensuring that Yam was brought to justice for his callous and greedy actions."
This was second time Yam has been tried for murder, after a jury failed to reach a verdict in April 2008.
For the first time in British legal history, parts of the trial were mysteriously held 'in camera' - behind closed doors - after an application from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith for reasons of national security. These can never be made public, leaving a shroud of mystery over the case despite Yam's imprisonment.
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.
Yam's defence team claimed Mr Chappelow was tortured either by Chinese Triads, the Israeli secret service Mossad or Albanian gangsters.
Yam, of Denning Road, will be sentenced next week.