Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 19:01 UK

Masked man tied up murder accused

Xi Zhou and her boyfriend Zhen Xing Yang
Xi Zhou and Zhen Xing Yang had received threats over the internet

A man accused of murdering a Chinese couple has told a jury he was tied up by a masked man who burst into the flat before the killings took place.

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

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

The restaurant worker told Newcastle Crown Court on Monday that he was blackmailed into setting the couple up.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said that a few days before moving into the Croydon Road flat, he heard from a anonymous caller who contacted him by leaving a mobile phone in an envelope outside his house.

Betting scam

The telephone contained a file with images of Mr Cao's parents in China.

He was then told: "Have you ever imagined if a drunk driver drove his car forward (towards the couple), what would happen to them?

"Such incidents happen every day. Think it over."

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

The caller knew he was considering renting the couple's spare room and he was told to take up the accommodation quickly.

After paying his deposit, Mr Cao said he was told in a phone call to leave a key outside the flat.

Earlier in the trial the court heard that Mr Yang, known as Kevin, and his girlfriend, known as Cici, were involved in an internet football betting scam.

They had received threats over the internet.

'Be careful'

Mr Guang told he jury that on the day of the killings a masked man, armed with a gun had charged into his room.

Mr Yang was then brought into the room at gunpoint by another man.

One of the gunmen then told Mr Yang that he had made someone "unhappy".

Mr Cao was taken to the bathroom where he said he was kept, bound by his hands and feet, for several hours.

When he was brought out of the bathroom he saw Cici crouching down with her hands tied behind her back.

He then said he was warned: "When you leave here, be careful what you say and think about your parents."

The case continues.

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