‘Milkshake murderess’ appeals conviction in Hong Kong court

February 10th, 2009 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Feb 10 (DPA) The wife of a wealthy American investment banker Tuesday won the right to appeal her life sentence for killing her husband in the so-called “milkshake murder” case.

Nancy Kissel, 44, drugged husband Robert, a senior Merrill Lynch banker, with a strawberry milkshake then killed him by smashing him over the head with a statuette in their luxury Hong Kong apartment in 2003.

Her sensational 2005 trial generated headlines worldwide and had all the ingredients of a Hollywood thriller with its revelations of sex, illicit affairs and drug use in Hong Kong’s elite expatriate circles.

Kissel last October had an appeal against her conviction rejected when she tried to claim she had acted in self-defence after years of physical and sexual assault by her husband.

At the Court of Appeal Tuesday, however, a panel of three judges gave her leave to take her case to Hong Kong’s top court - the Court of Final Appeal - to challenge her conviction on legal grounds.

Kissel’s lawyer Alexander King argued that the prosecution at her original trial used material that emerged in a bail application to challenge his client’s credibility, a move he claimed was illegal.

The Court of Final Appeal will now hear Kissel’s last appeal against her life sentence at a hearing on a date to be decided later. Only the legal technicality and no other points will be argued at the hearing.

Kissel appeared at Tuesday’s hearing in person, soberly dressed in a black skirt and black cardigan, as she was throughout her original trial.

At her trial, prosecutors painted Kissel as a cold-blooded killer who sedated her husband with a drug-laced milkshake before bludgeoning him to death with a metal statuette.

She then wrapped his body in a rug and got workmen to unwittingly carry it to a locked storeroom where it was eventually discovered as Kissel was arrested for murder.

The prosecution claimed the murder was planned to avoid a messy divorce so that Nancy Kissel could be with her TV repairman lover, who lived in a trailer park in Vermont in the US.

Robert Kissel had found out about the affair and planned to divorce her and take custody of the couple’s three young children, the trial was told.

Kissel, from Michigan, claimed her husband was a drug user who subjected her to years of physical and sexual abuse and claimed she killed him in self-defence when he tried to attack her.

The Kissels came to Hong Kong in 1997. The couple’s three children are now in the care of the victim’s family in Seattle.

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