Original article no longer available
June 8, 2005
HONG KONG (Reuters) – The wife of a prominent Hong Kong-based American banker fed him a glass of strawberry milkshake laced with hypnotic and antidepressant drugs before clubbing him to death, a high court heard on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said Robert Kissel, 40, a managing director for U.S. banking giant Merrill Lynch, had planned to tell his wife he was divorcing her, after discovering she was having an affair with a TV repairman and fearing she was plotting to harm him.
Nancy Kissel, 40, who has pleaded not guilty to murder, was expressionless as prosecutor Peter Chapman accused her of clubbing her husband with a heavy metallic figurine in their bedroom on Nov. 2, 2003.
Chapman said she had earlier poisoned him with a milkshake containing a cocktail of “four types of hypnotic drugs and one antidepressant”.
Police found Kissel’s body four days later in a storeroom that the couple rented in the luxury residential estate where they lived with their three children.
Prosecutors said she disposed of the body by wrapping it in a carpet bought the day after the murder and then asking workmen on the estate to take it to the storeroom.
Kissel’s murder and his wife’s arrest shocked Hong Kong’s expatriate and banking community and the case has again grabbed headlines since the trial opened on Tuesday.
Chapman said Kissel had become suspicious of his wife in August 2003 after installing spy software on their home laptop. Using the software, Kissel traced his wife’s e-mail correspondence with her lover, a television repairman in the United States.
Prosecutors said she apparently met the repairman when she returned to the United States to escape the SARS epidemic earlier in 2003.
Kissel also found that she had searched the Internet using key words such as “drug overdose.” He told a private detective and a friend in the United States he was concerned his wife might be trying to harm him, Chapman said.
Prosecutors said the banker had intended to tell his wife that he was filing for divorce. He had also apparently consulted lawyers about divorce and child custody arrangements.
Nancy Kissel was the beneficiary of life insurance policies worth a total of $6.75 million, the court heard.
The trial is expected to last until mid-August.