Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Friday, 8 May 2009 18:09 UK

Murdered couple received threats

Xi Zhou and her boyfriend Zhen Xing Yang
One message posted on the internet said: "Give me the money"

A murdered Chinese couple who were involved in an internet betting scam had received a series of threats, a court has heard.

The mutilated bodies of Zhen Xing Yang and his girlfriend Xi Zhou, both 25, were found in their flat in Croydon Road, Newcastle, on 9 August 2008.

Guang Hui Cao, 31, of Castle Close, Morpeth, Northumberland, denies murder.

One message posted to the couple on the internet said: "Give me the money as soon as possible - I will find you."

Religious beliefs

At the start of the defence on Friday, the jury heard that Mr Yang, known as Kevin, placed adverts on Mandarin language websites seeking to recruit people to watch football matches in the UK and South America.

Adverts were also placed in his girlfriend's anglicised name, Cici asking for people to send live information from games, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Guang Hui Cao is taken to court
Guang Hui Cao denies two counts of murder

Paul Sloan QC, defending, said: "Messages were placed on the internet prior to their deaths complaining about the activities of Kevin and Cici, in such terms as 'Cici has been deceitful'."

Other messages posted on the internet, he said, included, 'Give me the money as soon as possible - I will find you' and 'You do not even answer the phone, you liar'.

Mr Cao gave evidence for the first time speaking through an interpreter.

He told the jury he left China in 2001 after being sacked and beaten up because of his religious beliefs.

He also said he came to England to study English.

Miss Zhou died after being hit with a heavy weapon and was found bound and gagged face down on a bed.

Mr Yang died after being repeatedly hit with a hammer-like weapon and having his throat slit.

The trial continues.

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