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Boyfriend watches on webcam as girlfriend murdered 11,000 miles away

A student was murdered in her bedroom in Canada as she chatted to her boyfriend on webcam, who watched, powerless, as the attack unfolded.

Qian Liu, 23, from Beijing was seen struggling with a man who entered her room at York University Village in Toronto as she spoke via live webcam to her boyfriend 11,000 miles away in China.

The unnamed boyfriend said there had been a knock at the door during their conversation at around 1am on Friday morning.

"She opened the door to a male. She could have known the male but he was unknown to the online witness," said Detective Sergeant Frank Skubic from Toronto Police.

He then watched as the muscular man with medium-length brown hair asked to use Liu's mobile phone.

A violent struggle ensued, although some of it took place outside the camera's range.

The suspect, described as white, in his 20s and 6ft tall, then switched off the laptop, which is now missing. Liu's flatmates said the suspect had been pursuing her romantically.

The boyfriend tried to raise the alarm with Liu's friends at the university through several social networking websites, but police only arrived at the scene ten hours later to find her semi-naked body.

"The online witness became concerned and contacted several people known to the deceased here in Canada, and appealed to them to go and track down her welfare," said Det Sgt Skubic.

Police have not yet announced the cause of death and are attempting to retrieve the webcam images to help solve the crime.