Jail term stands for drugs factory killer

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A GANGSTER from Doncaster who bludgeoned a man to death after a row in an £1 million-a-year drugs factory has been told he must stay in jail.

Zhouli Zhang, aged 50, of Scarth Avenue, in Balby, was jailed for life after he was found guilty of the murder of 38-year-old Cai Guan Chen in a cannabis farm in Elvington, near York.

But the Chinese born killer has been trying to challenge his conviction.

And now he has failed in a bid to have it overturned in the High Court.

Lawyers for Zhang, an immigrant to Doncaster from the Dong Bei area of China, claimed there was not enough evidence to link him to murder scene and he was wrongly convicted.

After reviewing his case, three senior judges sitting at London’s Appeal Court ruled his conviction was safe and upheld the life sentence handed out by the original court.

Lord Justice Hooper told the court that Zhang and another man were found to have been in a warehouse on Elvington Industrial Estate at the time Chinese national Mr Chen was killed.

The judge said he was hit with a stick and punched and kicked to death.

His body was then bound and transported to nearby Selby, where it was dumped in a canal.

His remains were not discovered for several weeks.

The body was found when two men fishing in the canal came across it.

Pathologists who examined the corpse found that his injuries had been inflicted by more than one person.

Zhang was convicted after the jury heard from the victim’s girlfriend, who said he and the other man used exactly the same alibi.

Prosecutors also claimed mobile phone records show Zhang searching the internet on his mobile phone for a place to dump the body.

But lawyers for Zhang said there was not enough evidence to convict him of murder and told the hearing the jury’s verdict should be overturned.

But Lord Justice Hooper, sitting with Mr Justice Stadlen and Mr Justice Sweeney, rejected the pleas and upheld the murder conviction.

The judge told the appeal court: “We are satisfied that there was more than sufficient evidence to go before the jury

“The jury was fully entitled to find that the appellant was in the cannabis factory at the time the deceased was killed.

“There was ample evidence of a motive.”