05:46 | 26th April 2019

News: UK

Wed 20 Oct, 2010
By Sam Bristowe

No one in this country is above the law

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A Saudi prince who used his servant as a "human punchbag" has been jailed for life for beating and strangling him to death at a London hotel.

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, 34, stood with his arms folded and showed no emotion as he was told he must serve a minimum term of 20 years in jail.

The prince killed 32-year-old Bandar Abdulaziz in a brutal assault with a "sexual element" at their five-star hotel in central London in February. It was the culmination of a campaign of "sadistic" abuse including a previous "nasty" assault in a hotel lift weeks before.

Mr Justice Bean told the prince, who had tried to claim diplomatic immunity when he was first arrested: "No-one in this country is above the law."

Saud, a member of one of the world's wealthiest and most powerful families, did not flinch as the judge described the injuries he had inflicted on the "subservient" Mr Abdulaziz. The judge said: "I cannot be sure that you intended to kill your victim. I think the most likely explanation is that you could not care less whether you killed him or not."

Saud, shaven-headed and wearing a black top, was watched from the public gallery by his father Prince Abdulaziz, looking ashen-faced and glancing between his son in the dock and the judge passing sentence.

An Old Bailey jury heard how the prince bit his victim hard on both cheeks during his murderous attack at their suite in the Landmark hotel in Marylebone. Saud was fuelled by champagne and Sex on the Beach cocktails when he began the ferocious beating after a Valentine's Day night out. He was found guilty of murder as well as a second count of grievous bodily harm with intent relating to the attack in the lift.

If he ever returns to his home country, Saud faces the possibility of execution because being gay is a capital offence there. The judge said: "It is very unusual for a prince to be in the dock on a murder charge. But your trial has proceeded in just the same way as anyone else's would in this court. No one in this country is above the law. It would be wrong for me to sentence you either more severely or more leniently because of your membership of the royal family in Saudi Arabia."

Saud's initial claim that the aide's injuries were caused by a mugging were exposed after police discovered CCTV footage of the lift attack on January 22.

The attack which killed Mr Abdulaziz left him with so many injuries, including bleeding in the brain, a fractured larynx and bruising in the abdomen, that pathologists could not say for certain what caused his death.

Saud had murdered him between 1.40am and 2.40am and spent the next 12 hours on the phone "working out his options".

"If you had any remorse you would have sought medical help immediately. But you were only concerned for yourself," said the judge. A prosecution application for costs was adjourned to be heard on Friday.


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