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Last Updated: Friday, 7 March 2008, 14:49 GMT
Man denies killing wealthy writer
Allan Chappelow
Mr Chappelow's body was found under a pile of papers
A financial trader has denied murdering a reclusive author in order to steal his identity and plunder his wealth.

Wang Yam, 46, who is accused of killing Allan Chappelow at his home in Hampstead, north London, broke down as he gave evidence at the Old Bailey.

He also said he had not stolen the 86-year-old millionaire's mail.

Mr Yam who lives in Denning Road, near Mr Chappelow's 2.5m dilapidated home, denies murder, burglary and four dishonesty offences in 2006.

Mr Chappelow, an expert on writer George Bernard Shaw, was found battered to death and hidden under a pile of papers in the house in Downshire Hill in June 2006.

Financial difficulties

Mr Yam cried in court after being asked about his life in China before seeking asylum in Britain in 1992.

Shortly after telling the jury that he had set up internet blogs in 2002 and 2004 criticising the Chinese government, the press and public were excluded from court.

The prosecution alleges Mr Yam murdered Mr Chappelow because he got into financial difficulties.

For about a month after the author's body was discovered, a man was stealing his post and using information from it to access bank and credit card accounts.

Mr Yam told the court he was not the Chinese man wearing "Eric Morecambe glasses" who approached a postman near the house.

Pro-democracy movement

When asked if he had been disturbed by Mr Chappelow whilst taking his post Mr Yam said: "It is not true."

The defendant said he had a masters degree in theoretical physics and was an associate professor in Beijing.

Recounting his activities in the pro-democracy movement in China he said said he left for Hong Kong after being pressed to betray friends and teachers involved in demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

He later became a freelance broker and mortgage adviser but became bankrupt owing more than 100,000 in 2005.

Mr Chappelow wrote a number of works about Bernard Shaw and was also the author of Russian Holiday - an account, published in 1955, of his experiences in the Soviet Union after he became one of the first Britons to be allowed to travel there.

The case continues.



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