By Kilian Melloy-
|Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud and Bandera Abdulaziz|
The killing took place last February in a London hotel, and was reportedly the last in a string of attacks endured by the servant, identified in an Oct. 19 BBC News story as 32-year-old Bandera Abdulaziz.
At trial, the court was told that the defendant, Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, had subjected Abdulaziz to a long series of "deeply abusive" assaults that bore a "sexual element." One such attack took place in an elevator at the Landmark Hotel in central London, and was caught on footage taken by a security camera on Jan. 1 of this year. The BBC News article included the security footage.
Three weeks after the hotel elevator attack, Abdulaziz was found dead at the Landmark Hotel. He had been strangled and beaten; according to the BBC report, the servant had "suffered internal bleeding to the brain and severe neck injuries." Added the report, "His body was covered in bruises." Abdulaziz was found in the room he shared with his employer.
According to al Saud, the servant’s injuries were the result of an attack and robbery elsewhere in London. But the Jan. 22 security video, and another video captured by an elevator camera on Feb. 5, suggested a far more proximate cause: al Saud himself, who, the BBC article said, is gay. The prince and his servant had returned to the hotel after celebrating Valentine’s Day when the final attack took place. The next day, the prince discovered that the servant was dead. According to the BBC article, al Saud then phoned his home country in an attempt to figure out some means of covering up the killing.
Hotel staff said that the two men "appeared to be in a gay relationship," although "they rarely spoke to each other" in public, the BBC article said. An An Associated Press article reported that the prosecutor in the case, Jonathan Laidlaw, referenced photos stored on a cell phone in declaring that the abusive relationship contained "sexual elements."
The prince later admitted to killing Abdulaziz, but said that the servant’s death was not murder.
al Saud described his family lineage to authorities, saying that his great-uncle is the Saudi king--who also is, according to al Saud, his grandfather, the BBC reported. The AP noted that Justice David Bean took note of the defendant’s family connections, but said, "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."
"The defendant used his position of power, money and authority over his victim Bandar to abuse him over an extended period of time," stated Detective Chief Inspector McFarlane.
The BBC reported that al Saud could face death in Saudi Arabia--not due to the murder conviction, but rather because he is gay. Saudi Arabia punishes gays with death, though according to a Wikipedia article, the law is enforced erratically.
As it stands, however, al Saud faces twenty years in a British jail.