Suspect arrested in webcam murder

2011-04-21 07:17

A 29-year-old man has been charged with the murder of a college student whose frantic boyfriend in China watched through a webcam as she struggled with an attacker.

Brian Dickson was charged with first-degree murder, Toronto police spokesperson Tony Vella said.

Dickson was scheduled to appear in court this morning.Police did not release any more details but asked the media not to publish any photos of Dickson, saying it could compromise the investigation.

The body of York University student Liu Qian, aged 23, of Beijing, was found on Friday in her apartment in Toronto a few hours after her boyfriend witnessed the attack, police said.

She was naked from the waist down and there were no obvious signs of sexual assault or trauma severe enough to kill her.

The autopsy was inconclusive, and police said on Tuesday they were awaiting toxicology test results.Dickson is not a student at York, university spokesperson Janice Wells said.

Arrest a relief Liu was chatting with her boyfriend, Meng Xianchao, by webcam in the hours of Friday morning when a man knocked on the door, police said.

Meng reported seeing a struggle break out between the two before Liu’s webcam was shut off. Meng contacted other friends in Toronto who in turn called police.

The victim’s father, Liu Jianhui, said his daughter studied at Beijing City University before moving to Canada, where she met Meng.Liu Jianhui arrived on Wednesday from China.

He is the research director of Communist Party history at the Party School of the Central Committee of CPC, which trains party officials.York University President Mamdouh Shoukri said the community was relieved that police had arrested a suspect.

“Qian Liu’s death has had a profound impact on all of us at York. We appreciate the dedicated effort of Toronto Police Service and we are pleased that they have apprehended a suspect,” Shoukri said in a statement.

Liu Qian’s laptop, webcam and cellphone were taken from the apartment the night of the attack, police said. Police said the online chat was on a live streaming camera and was not recorded, though investigators were trying to figure out if there was any way they could recover it.

Sex attacks have happened before in and around York’s campus which is located near one of Toronto’s rougher neighbourhoods.

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