The wife of a former top Chinese politician has admitted to poisoning a British businessman, blaming a "mental breakdown" for her actions that resulted in Neil Heywood's death, state news reported.
The closely watched murder trial of Gu Kailai took place Thursday, adjourning in the afternoon without the announcement of a verdict, said Tang Yigan, deputy head of the Hefei Intermediate People's Court.
On Friday, the state-run Xinhua news agency offered details on what transpired in court the previous day during the seven-hour long trial. That included a statement by Gu in which she not only didn't deny the accusations levied against her, but "accepted all the facts written in the indictment" -- including poisoning Heywood at a time when she thought her son's life was in danger.
"During those days last November, I suffered a mental breakdown after learning my son was in jeopardy," Gu, 53, said shortly before the trial concluded. "The tragedy, which was created by me, was not only extended to Neil, but also to several families."
Her family aide and alleged co-conspirator, Zhang Xiaojun, likewise admitted to his part in the crime and said he wanted to say "sorry" to the victim's family.
"I hope the court can give me a chance to take a new lease on life," Zhang said in the court in the eastern city of Hefei, according to the Xinhua report. "I really know that I did wrong."
The pair were accused of killing the 41-year-old Heywood last November in a hotel room in the city of Chongqing. Chinese authorities had previously said that Gu and her son had "conflicts" with Heywood "over economic interests" and that she was motivated to kill the Briton because of fears for her son Bo Guagua's safety.
Reached Friday by e-mail, Bo Guagua declined to comment on his mother's confession or "any details pertaining to the case."
Gu's admission is the latest phase in the fall from grace of the prominent family of Bo Xilai, Gu's husband, who until earlier this year had appeared destined to join the elite committee of leaders at the top of China's ruling party.
The family's alleged involvement in Heywood's death triggered the most sensational Chinese political scandal in recent memory. And it created an extraordinary set of challenges for the central government as it prepares for a once-in-a-decade leadership transition later this year.