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Dr Zhang stabbed wife at parent’s evening

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Ying Zhang killed his wife

University Lecturer Dr Ying Zhang, 55, of Hatfield, has been given a life sentence with a minimum of 22 years for the calculated attempted murder of his wife, motivated by the protection of his financial assets in a prospective divorce.

Their marriage entered difficultes in 2019, at which point Ying Zhang began to display ‘controlling and coercive behaviour’ in an effort to ‘ensure that he controlled the assets within the family’. This alienated his wife, Dr Xiao further, and she then took the decision to leave him.

In the year leading up to the attack in September 2021, Zhang began to display ‘bizarre, jealous, and obsessive behaviour’. He bgan to book rooms in a guesthouse that opposed the former family home to spy on on Xiao, and he took photographs of her and made spreadsheets that tracked her daily movements.

On the day of the attack, he pooled all these resources together to track her to their child’s parent’s evening in North London where he laid in wait by her vehicle, where he savagely knifed her 10-15 times. Members of the public intervened and it is likely that their intervention prevented her death.

In defense, Zhang said he suffers from depression and had no recollection of the attack or even possessing a bladed article.

The judge said: “There was a long standing failure by the defendant to accept his wife’s entitlement to a greater share of the joint finances and this was entrenched in his mind long before any decision to separate was made. I am satisfied that in his mind was a desire to…benefit financially from her death.

I am sure that Dr Zhang knowingly and deliberately took a knife to the scene. He knew and planned where his wife would be and I am satisfied that his claim not to have memory of the attack is entirely false.”

The judge concluded that Zhang should be treated as a “dangerous offender”.

In a victim impact statement read to court, Dr Xiao said: “For all those who are experiencing domestic violence right now, please you must report every instance to the police and go to the court to give evidence.

Please you must protect yourself but not the abuser. If the abuser ever threatens you with killing do not think a threat is just a threat. They will do it one day.”

She went on to express her gratitude to people who have helped her, particularly the members of the public who “saved her life. How courageous and brave you are.”

Ying Zhang murdered his wife
Old Bailey court heard the startling case

They are both academics that specialise in cybersecurity, and their marriage began in 2006, but their relationship “was not always a happy one and was marred by a number of incidents of domestic violence”.

Dr Xiao reported Zhang to the police previously that he threatened to murder her but did not pursue a criminal charge. This was because he accused her of ‘cheating’ with a man at her workplace.

When they separated she attained a non-molestation order to legally prevent him from approaching her at her new address in Watford. He then broke that order repeatedly in 2021.

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