Body-in-suitcase trial: Gambler 'murdered friend to assume identity'
An "insatiable gambler" murdered his friend to assume his identity and clear huge debts, a court has heard.
Ming Jiang spent £178,000 at 235 Casino in Manchester in the two weeks after he allegedly killed Yang Liu, Minshull Street Crown Court was told.
It is claimed Mr Jiang murdered the 36-year-old and dumped his body near a remote Derbyshire lay-by so he could use Mr Liu's funds to repay gambling debts of £273,115.
Mr Jiang, 43, denies murder.
The court was told the Chinese men were friends, but while Mr Liu was "comfortably off" in a Salford Quays apartment, Mr Jiang was living in a one-bedroom flat in Beswick and being chased by creditors.
The jury heard that after dismembering Mr Liu and leaving his torso in a suitcase near the A628 Woodhead Pass at Tintwistle, Mr Jiang returned to Manchester, withdrew £800 from his friend's account and went gambling.
Mr Liu's remains were found by walkers on 10 October, some days after it is believed he was killed.
A subsequent police search of Mr Jiang's home found an "extensive clean-up", prosecutor Peter Wright QC said.
The court heard officers found a bloody palm print on a box in the flat and Mr Liu's blood in the bathroom.
Mr Wright said following his arrest, the 43-year-old used an "elaborate smokescreen" of "slurs", including suggesting Mr Liu was a paid escort for older Chinese men, to conceal his guilt.
He told the court Mr Jiang used Mr Liu's bank and credit cards, reclaimed watches worth £16,000 from pawnbrokers, and took his friend's passport to try and achieve a "quick sale" of the quayside apartment.
He also said Mr Jiang had shipped seven boxes of Mr Liu's possessions to an address in Shanghai.
The trial continues.