The Italian trial of a Dublin-based IT worker accused of killing his wife and throwing her body into the sea is taking place in his absence.
Rosecutors allege that German father-of-three Daniel Belling, 49, killed his wife, Chinese citizen Xing Li, 38, during a Mediterranean cruise in 2017.
This was announced by Mr. Belling’s Italian lawyer, Luigi Conti Irish Independent The process began to hear evidence from witnesses.
“We’ll be hearing from the ship’s captain next month. Things are progressing well. Mr. Belling was not present. In Italy you can choose whether or not to participate in your own process.”
While in prison, Mr Belling is understood to have made several phone calls with his nephew in Germany, as well as with his mother-in-law, You Xiangzhen.
These were recorded and a request was made to have them transcribed and presented as evidence.
At the same hearing, You Xiangzhen filed a civil lawsuit against Mr. Belling, seeking damages if he is convicted of her daughter’s murder.
Mr. Conti said he provided the court with a defense witness list that included “Tusla-based personnel.” Mr Belling is currently in Ireland.
In July 2020, Italian investigators announced that their investigation into Ms. Xing’s disappearance had revealed that computer programmer Belling had killed his wife on the ship and disposed of her body at sea.
Mr Belling returned to Ireland in 2018 after 14 months on remand in an Italian prison in connection with the disappearance. His solicitor persuaded the authorities to release him from custody and he returned to the home he shared with his wife in Clarehall, Co Dublin.
Ms. Xing, Mr. Belling and their two children boarded the MSC Magnifica cruise ship at the Italian port of Civitavecchia on February 9.
Crew members noticed that Ms. Xing was missing when conducting a people count at the end of the cruise.
Mr Belling and the couple’s two children were stopped by Italian police at Rome’s Ciampino airport on February 17 as they were about to board a flight home. Mr Belling has always denied killing his wife.
Investigators thought they had made a breakthrough in the case in March 2017, when a suitcase containing the body of an Asian woman was found floating in the Adriatic Sea off Italy’s east coast. However, the body was not Xing Li’s.
Mr Belling reportedly told an Italian judge that he and his wife had been fighting and that she wanted to “break the journey”.
According to reports in the Italian press, he claimed that his wife abandoned the ship while he and the children were on a shore excursion.
After his release in Italy in 2018, Mr Belling told reporters he believed she arranged her disappearance.
Mr Belling described her as a “cruel person” for allowing him to serve 14 months in prison for a crime “she knows I didn’t commit”.
“I think my wife is most likely in China. There is a small chance that something happened to her in Greece, but I believe she is in China. I think she knows I’ve been in prison.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/murder-trial-of-dublin-based-man-whose-wife-vanished-from-mediterranean-cruise-liner-begins-in-italy-in-his-absence-41629353.html The murder trial of a Dublin man whose wife disappeared from a Mediterranean cruise ship begins in his absence in Italy