In a blog post on Sina that has since been removed, Wang Xuemei, one of China’s foremost forensic doctors with the Supreme People’s Procuratorate (China’s agency responsible for prosecution and investigation of crimes), dismissed the official account of Neil Heywood‘s death in November, 2011.
Heywood’s death was blamed at the time on alcohol poisoning, surprising since the British businessman was teetotal. After evidence was provided by Wang Lijun, linking the Bo family to the case, the official cause of death was changed to cyanide poisoning. Now Wang Xuemei has come out against that explanation (translations by John Kennedy):
“A serious lack of evidence exists,” Wang writes, “to conclude that Neil Heywood died of cyanide poisoning, as well as any supporting scientific basis.”
“What I find extremely terrifying,” she continues, is that missing in both the secret recording of Gu’s confession to the murder and the court testimony provided by Gu and Zhang themselves, she claims, is any indication that Gu and Zhang witnessed a death that involved the characteristics of cyanide poisoning: the scream reflex that occurs during “lightning-fast” asphyxia, body spasms which would have been apparent as the cyanide reached Heywood’s central nervous system, stupour that would have followed, or eventual cardiopulmonary arrest just prior to his death.
“As everyone knows, hemiglobincyanide will form in the corpse of someone poisoned with cyanide, giving both their hypostasis and blood an unusually bright red colour…Any forensic doctor in China would have immediately spotted something that out of the ordinary.”
Wang goes on to point out that cyanide poisoning causes notable colour changes in the skin of the victim, but this was never remarked upon in the initial coroner’s report. Nor, Wang points out, has the coroner or forensic doctor who first examined Heywood’s body before it was hurriedly cremated, come forward, even after the murder brought down the Bo family and became international news.