A Saudi prince accused of beating his manservant to death in a London hotel is now facing rumors the two were involved in a homosexual relationship, according to the BBC.
Bandar Abdulaziz, who worked as an assistant to Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, was found beaten and strangled in a hotel suite at London's Landmark Hotel on Feb. 15. The 32-year-old Abdulaziz also had what appeared to be bite marks on his cheeks. The Mirror reports Abdulaziz also suffered from brain injuries, and his lips had been split and his teeth broken.
Eyewitness testimony has put a startling new twist on the case and suggests the relationship between the two men may have gone beyond the professional. Dobomir Dimitrov, a Landmark Hotel employee who is openly gay, described the 34-year-old Saudi royal as effeminate and said the two men, who were sharing a room, had "color-coded" their clothing. "I would describe them as a gay couple," Dimitrov told jurors. "It was impossible not to notice [al Saud] was homosexual."
Though Abdulaziz's attorney has slammed the gay reports, British media speculation over the relationship has been rampant, with most conceding that the prince's family would deem homosexuality, which is illegal in Saudi Arabia, on par with first-degree homicide. "Just as humiliating for the Royal family will be the revelations that Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Nasir al Saud, who is King Abdullah's grandson, is homosexual," wrote Sholto Byrnes in the British newsweekly The New Statesman.
According to The New York Times, Abdulaziz has admitted manslaughter but denies murder and a separate count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.