This post was edited by ttt222 at 2013-8-26 15:00|
Today we can reveal how Neil lived in fear of being assassinated after word got out that he was sleeping with the powerful billionaire's wife
The bodyguard: Michael Wright was hired by Neil Heywood
Businessman Neil Heywood’s ambition to find unimaginable wealth made him a dead man walking from the moment his affair with a powerful Chinese billionaire’s wife was discovered.
And today the Daily Mirror can reveal how the financial consultant lived in fear of being assassinated after word got out that he was sleeping with glamorous super-rich Gu Kailai, who could face a death sentence for poisoning him with cyanide.
In an exclusive interview, personal bodyguard Michael Wright tells of his life with the love-cheat couple and how his team fought off an attempted hit on Heywood by three killers in England 10 years ago.
The security firm boss witnessed at first hand the wrath provoked by the secret affair between the “Jackie Kennedy of China” and the Jaguar-driving, deal-maker from Streatham, South London.
“The word had got back to China that they were lovers,” said Wright yesterday, “and the powers that be wanted to put a stop to their relationship.”
Heywood thought his closeness to Gu was his passport to untold riches.
The fluent Manadrin speaker believed he’d made the all-important breakthrough to the highest echelons of the Communist Party when he met the beautiful lawyer’s husband Bo Xilai, one of the country’s most charismatic politicians.
The couple had made multi-million pound fortunes since China embraced Western capitalism and Heywood’s first task was to teach English to their son Bo Guagua while building his consultancy firm, advising new businesses setting up there.
Heywood, then single in the late 90s, forged a close relationship with Gu as her husband concentrated on furthering his career, which would lead to him become the most important official in the mega-City of Chongquing in south-west China, home to 32 million people.
Eventually Heywood and Gu, 53, became lovers – enraging Communist Party Politburo officials.
The victim: Neil Heywood advised businesses in China
Wright told how in 2001 Heywood was nearly murdered at the couple’s penthouse flat in Keystone House, Bournemouth. Henchmen were sent from China after a “spy” posing as a cook exposed the affair, he says.
“Just before Christmas three Chinese guys turned up at their flat which I was guarding with a team 24 hours a day. One of them was 6ft 3in, powerfully-built and seemed to be in charge.
"They didn’t speak any English but they wanted to get upstairs to the flat where Neil and Mrs Gu was hiding. They were under orders to kill someone and it was my job to stop them. I was confronted by one of the guys at the front and wrestled him to the ground to restrain him.
"The other two went around the back where I had two other bodyguards and a fight broke out.
"One of my men ended up with a broken jaw and a deep gash on his cheek as the Chinese guys used martial arts to try to get in.
“Mrs Gu and her son were upstairs along with Heywood, watching the fight.
“It was brutal. Those guys wanted blood. Eventually we got the better of them and they didn’t want the British police turning up so they jumped in a car and sped off.
“Heywood was terrified because he believed he was going to be killed and Mrs Gu was shaking like a leaf.
"Heywood paid us more money after that because he wanted to ensure we would stay on protecting him.”
But this incident was only a hint of the scandal to come – including accusations of a cover-up – that has sent shockwaves right to the heart of China’s ruling elite as they prepare for a leadership change.
This week a Chinese court heard how on November 13 last year Gu lured Heywood to room 1605 of Chongqing’s Lucky Holiday Hotel where she got him drunk before feeding him lethal cyanide poison.