Gay Saudi prince sentenced to life for killing servant

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A gay Saudi prince has been sentenced to at least 20 years in prison for murdering his servant in a luxury London hotel.

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud beat and strangled Bandar Abdulaziz to death at the Landmark Hotel last February.

The Old Bailey heard that the attack had a “sexual” element and that Saud, a member of the Saudi royal family, had abused his servant before.

CCTV from a hotel lift showed the prince kicking and hitting Mr Abdulaziz shortly before his death, while the servant was found to have suffered multiple injuries, including bites to his face.

Yesterday, jurors found Saud guilty of murder and a second count of grievous bodily harm which related to the attack in the lift.

Associated Press reports that Justice David Bean told Saud: “It is very unusual for a prince to be in the dock on a murder charge. 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 Saudi royal family.”

He added that Mr Abdulaziz, who did not fight back as Saud beat and kicked him to death, was a “vulnerable” individual who had been “exploited” by his master.

Today, it was revealed that Saud tried to hide the fact he was gay from the court.

Jonathan Kelsey-Fry QC, the lawyer for Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, applied for all legal argument relating to his client’s sexual orientation to be heard in a courtroom closed to journalists.

Mr Kelsey-Fry said reporting of legal arguments could jeopardise the case and that his client’s sexuality was irrelevant.

The Daily Telegraph and other newspapers successfully appealed, arguing that there was no good reason to exclude the media and that journalists knew not to report legal argument before the end of the trial.

Justice Bean said that the gay element of the case should be reported and that the jury should decide the motivation behind Mr Abdulaziz’s murder.

Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and the prince could face the death penalty if he returns home, although his status as a royal is likely to offer protection.