Warning: This article contains graphic descriptions of violence some readers may find disturbing.
A woman in New Zealand was stabbed over 20 times before her body was stuffed into a suitcase and left in the trunk of her car.
Businesswoman Elizabeth Zhong, 55, was found in the back of her Land Rover on Nov. 28 last year. The vehicle was located on a residential street in Sunnyhills of east Auckland near her home.
Zhong was reported missing on a Saturday morning after a friend visited her home and found blood in her bedroom.
Fang Sun, the 48-year-old former business partner of Zhong, was accused of her murder shortly after.
Sun appeared at Auckland’s High Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to muder.
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He reportedly met Zhong in 2013 before becoming business partners and lived with Zhong’s family after moving to New Zealand from China, according to prosecutor Gareth Kayes.
When their business fell into debt, Sun blamed Zhong for mismanaging money and moved out of her house before returning on the day of her murder, Kayes said. The prosecutor added that Sun had repeatedly threatened Zhong and hired a private investigator to follow her around for months.
“It would appear Fang Sun blamed Elizabeth Zhong for losing him or his family over NZ$25 million [approximately $16.5 million],” Kayes said.
Kayes cited CCTV footage from a tracking device that had previously been placed underneath Zhong’s vehicle by the private investigator, claiming that Sun drove the vehicle to his home for about 15 minutes before it was abandoned. Zhong’s body was later found wrapped in a blanket inside a suitcase.
“He used a knife to stab her over 20 times, targeting her head, her neck and her back,” the prosecutor added. “Before he could dispose of the body more permanently, Ms. Zhong’s friends … found her car.”
The murder weapon was never found; however, a post-mortem DNA analysis suggested “strong scientific support” that Zhong’s fingernails contained Sun’s DNA, according to Kayes.
Defense lawyer Sam Wimsett suggested that Sun might have been framed by someone.
“Quite simply and quite strongly, it was not him,” Wimsett said. “He is not a murderer, and he is not as stupid as to have done some of the things that were done here.”
The trial, expected to last six weeks, was adjourned on Tuesday and will continue on April 29.
Feature Image via Handout (New Zealand Herald)