A Chinese court on Monday handed Gu Kailai, wife of the disgraced leader Bo Xilai, a commuted death sentence for murdering a British man, a lawyer for the victim's family told reporters.
Gu confessed during her trial this month to killing 41-year-old Neil Heywood by pouring poison down his throat, saying that she had threatened her son after a business deal went sour.
Monday's sentencing was closed to foreign reporters, but He Zhengsheng, a lawyer representing Heywood's family in court, said outside the court Gu had been given a commuted death sentence. It was not immediately clear what her sentence had been commuted to.
Frame grab taken from CCTV video on August 9 shows Gu Kailai, wife of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai, during her murder trial in Hefei. A Chinese court on Monday handed Gu a commuted death sentence for murdering a British man, a lawyer for the victim's family told reporters.
Zhang Xiaojun, an employee of the Bo family who was charged as an accomplice to the murder, was sentenced to nine years in jail, He said, adding, "we respect today's decision".
Heywood's death in a hotel room in southwest China last November was initially attributed to a heart attack, but Chinese authorities said in April that Gu was suspected of killing him.
The case brought down her husband Bo, who had been tipped for promotion to the elite group of Communist party leaders that effectively rules China until the allegations against his wife burst into the open.
He was placed under investigation for corruption in April and his fate remains unclear.
Political analysts say China's leaders are eager to draw a line under the controversy, which revealed deep rifts at the heart of the party ahead of a generational handover of power due to begin this autumn.