(photo credit: Associated Press)
LONDON — A British court on Wednesday sentenced a Saudi prince to at least 20 years in prison Wednesday for beating and strangling one of his servants at a swank British hotel.
Justice David Bean sentenced Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud to life in prison with a 20 year minimum for the brutal assault at the Landmark Hotel in London on February 15. The sensational case had featured days of lurid testimony, complete with video images of the shaven-headed prince brutally assaulting his aide in a hotel elevator.
"No one in this country is above the law," Bean said. "It would be wrong for me to sentence you either more severely or more leniently because of your membership of the Saudi royal family."
The jury had deliberated just 95 minutes before returning its verdict. The prince was convicted of both murder and a second count of grievous bodily harm with intent relating to the attack in the elevator.
Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw says the prince had abused his aide in the past and that photographs stored on a mobile phone "plainly proved" that there was a "sexual element" to the abuse.
Al Saud originally told police that he and Abdulaziz had been swigging champagne into the early hours of the morning, and that when he awoke at 3 p.m. he could not rouse Abdulaziz.
Jurors rejected a claim by his defense lawyer John Kelsey-Fry that the prince was guilty only of manslaughter.