A Hanoi court on July 14 sentenced to death a man for beheading and robbing his ex-girlfriend in a "cruel" murder case that has grabbed considerable public attention.
The Hanoi People's Court also ordered Nguyen Duc Nghia, 26, to pay VND113 million (US$5,931) in compensation to the family of 26-year-old Nguyen Phuong Linh.
Nghia's girlfriend, 24-year-old Hoang Thi Yen, was given a 15- month suspended sentence and a 30-month probation for not informing the police of his crime.
According to the indictment, Nghia and Linh started a romantic relationship in 2006 and broke up one year later.
On May 4 this year, Nghia asked Linh to meet him at Yen's apartment on the 11th floor of the G4 building in Cau Giay District.
Yen then was visiting her hometown and had asked Nghia to take care of it in her absence.
The indictment said that after Nghia and Linh had made love, he stabbed her to death. Then he cut off her head and fingers before wrapping her torso in a blanket and stashing it on the building's rooftop.
After disposing of the body parts in different places, he pawned her motorbike, laptop and mobile phone for money, the court was told.
Nghia was arrested on May 22, one day after police found Linh's naked, rotting body.
Calling for the death penalty for Nghia, the prosecution said he deserved "to be eliminated from society" for his gruesome crime.
Rejecting the notion that this was not a premeditated crime, the prosecution noted that the defendant had taken time to prepare the knife and had stabbed the unaware victim from behind.
Displaying no sign of nerves, he cut off her head and fingers and discarded them later, prosecutors said. Some reports said Nghia took a bus to the northern Quang Ninh Province and disposed of her body parts in a river there.
"Such acts show that Nghia is a cold-blooded murderer," the prosecution said.
At the hearing, prosecutors also rejected Nghia's argument that he had killed Linh out of jealousy.
Nghia told the court that he had not stabbed Linh as she was combing her hair in front of a mirror after they made love as he first told the police, but two hours later.
Linh had told him she did not have a boyfriend, but that day she refused to answer a call which she said was from her new boyfriend who lived far away, Nghia said.
"Linh also said she'd met me because she was lonely and wanted to have sex," he said, adding that this had made him angry. They had an argument and he stabbed her, Nghia said.
But investigators have confirmed there is no evidence to support Nghia's jealousy claims.
Nghia also denied that the murder was motivated by the desire to steal her property, claiming instead that he had pawned them because he didn't know where to hide them.
However, prosecutors pointed out that Nghia could have gotten rid of Linh's mobile phone anywhere, not necessarily a pawnshop.
"It showed that he planned to steal Linh's property before killing her," they asserted.
After explaining his acts, Nghia, who was unemployed at the time of the murder, pleaded guilty to killing and robbing Linh before apologizing to her family, Yen and his parents.
Crying, he said he wouldn't lodge an appeal, as "death isn't enough to make up for the crime I have committed."