Thursday 21 September 2017

Italian prosecutors: Murder suspect 'killed his wife after dinner on second night of cruise'

MYSTERY AT SEA: IT consultant Daniel Belling and his wife Li Yinglei, who vanished during a family cruise in the Med on board the MSC Magnifica Picture: Kyran O'Brien
MYSTERY AT SEA: IT consultant Daniel Belling and his wife Li Yinglei, who vanished during a family cruise in the Med on board the MSC Magnifica Picture: Kyran O'Brien
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Italian prosecutors investigating the disappearance of a woman from a Mediterranean cruise have alleged that she was killed by her husband on the second night of the trip.

Dublin-based IT worker Daniel Belling (45) is being held in custody in connection with the disappearance of his Chinese wife Xiang Lei Li.

The Irish Daily Star reports that police have also alleged that the German national killed Ms Li as they were having severe financial difficulties in Dublin.

State prosecutor Maria Tamburelli, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, claims Mr Belling killed his wife on board on February 10 - a day after they embarked on the MSC Magnifica cruise ship.

Li Yinglei (inset) disappeared during a Mediterranean cruise with her husband and two young children. Credit: Facebook
Li Yinglei (inset) disappeared during a Mediterranean cruise with her husband and two young children. Credit: Facebook

She also claims the couple and their kids dined together at the Four Winds restaurant on board but did not turn up for breakfast the next morning.

On February 20, Mr Belling disembarked the ship with his two children, but without Ms Li.

Police arrested Mr Belling at Ciampino Airport in Rome as he was about to board a Ryanair flight home with his children.

Staff working on board the ship say there was no trace of Ms Li after February 10 - nor was there any sign of her on the ship's CCTV system.

Efforts are now being made to repatriate the two children who are currently in the care of Italian social services.

Mr Belling and Ms Li had been living in an apartment block near the Clare Hall shopping centre in Dublin for several years.

Mr Belling worked as an IT consultant to firms such as Apple while Ms Li set up her own wedding planning business targeted at the Chinese community in the city.

Their two young sons were born here.

Mr Belling's lawyer Luigi Conti claims his client did not kill his wife and that Ms Li was a missing person.

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