Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir Bin Abdulaziz al Saud was found guilty of the murder of fellow Saudi Arabian 32-year-old Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz at the Landmark Hotel in central London on 15th February 2010.
In addition he was found guilty of grievous bodily harm against Bandar on 22nd January 2010.
The defendant had been staying at the luxury five star hotel in Marylebone Road with the victim who he described to police as a "friend" he had funded while they were travelling together. They had arrived at the hotel on 20th January 2010, having been on holiday in the Maldives.
Investigating detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Homicide Command believe their relationship was more like an old style "master and servant", with Saud Abdulaziz dominating the victim who appeared submissive in his presence. During the trial, the prosecution also stated that they had a homosexual relationship and argued that there was a sexual element to the murder.
At 16.47 on Monday, 15 February, hotel staff called London Ambulance Service stating that Bandar Abdulaziz was bleeding from the ear and appeared dead. Paramedics attended the hotel and found the victim in bed in the room he was sharing with the defendant. They pronounced "no signs of life" at 17:00 and contacted police.
Police attended and spoke to Saud Abdulaziz and hotel staff. The defendant told officers that he had been drinking with the victim in the hotel bar until the early hours. He stated that when he woke at 15:30 that afternoon he was unable to rouse Bandar Abdulaziz.
The defendant rang a gentleman, who was working for him his chauffeur during his stay in the UK, and told him Bandar was unwell. The man advised him to call reception for assistance and made his way to the hotel. When he arrived at 16:30, he asked Saud Abdulaziz if he had contacted hotel staff but he had not. The chauffeur then immediately contacted reception and checked Bandar Abdulaziz who appeared to be dead.
After police attended, Saud Abdulaziz told police that Bandar Abdulaziz had been attacked and robbed sometime between 21st and 23rd January in the Edgware Road area, apparently attributing his death to injuries sustained during this alleged incident.
However, a pathologist who attended the scene said the victim appeared to have suffered from injuries within the last 24 hours, consistent with being punched and kicked. Officers began examining CCTV from within the hotel. Footage from around 04:00 on 22nd January showed the defendant subjecting the victim to a beating for two minutes in one of the hotel’s lifts. The victim is seen cowering, trying to cover his head and face, while passively taking the beating during an apparently unprovoked attack.
Further CCTV footage showed another assault by the defendant on the victim in the lift on 5th February 2010.
Saud Abdulaziz was arrested and taken to Paddington police station that evening where he was interviewed the following day. During interview he maintained that the victim had been attacked during an earlier robbery, which had resulted in the injuries and a large quantity of cash being stolen. The alleged robbery had not been reported to police and officers found no evidence that it had occurred.
Inquiries disclosed that the victim had been treated at St Mary’s Hospital for an ear injury and was discharged on 10th February. Police believe the injury was inflicted by the defendant, along with other injuries over a sustained period of abuse.
A post mortem examination conducted at Westminster mortuary gave the cause of death as compression to the neck and head injury. A series of injuries were found – some historic, some recent and others having occurred within 24 hours. The pathologist stated that the fatal injuries were new and could not be attributed to an earlier incident.
Injuries identified included two broken ribs, damage to internal organs, bleeding on the brain, a severe ear injury, bite marks to the cheeks, bruising up and down legs and arms, a bite mark to his right arm and back, bruising to his neck and a broken larynx consistent with compression to the neck. There was bruising to his face, a split lip and teeth chipped. The pathologist’s evidence was that these were typical injuries seen in abuse cases caused by heavy punching and kicking over a period of time.
In the hotel suite there was evidence that attempts had been made to clear up the blood and that the victim’s body had been dragged from the bathroom into the hallway, to the bedroom and on to the bed in an attempt to cover his tracks.
Detective Chief Inspector John McFarlane, who led the investigation, said: "The defendant used his position of power over the victim to gratuitously inflict violence upon him over a long period of time. After the victim’s body was discovered he made every effort to evade justice, including misleading police by alleging that the victim had been robbed and then trying to claim diplomatic immunity, which he was not entitled to in the UK.
"This case clearly demonstrates that the MPS will not tolerate violence and will pursue justice for victim’s regardless of any complexities arising from an individual’s status and cultural backgrounds."