Mother of Neil Heywood breaks her silence

Ann Heywood, the mother of murdered British businessman Neil Heywood, has spoken out for the first time since the death of her son.

In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, she said she had refused all previous media requests, as she did not want to cause "any unnecessary embarrassment to the Chinese authorities", however circumstances now compelled her to speak out. She said:

"While struggling to come to terms with my own grief, my overriding concern has been for the security and well-being of Neil's two children.

Neil Heywood inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Credit: Reuters

"Given the circumstances of Neil's murder, I have been surprised and disappointed that, despite repeated discreet approaches to the Chinese authorities, there has been no substantive or practical response.

"I hope and trust that the leaders of this great nation, which Neil loved and respected, will now show decisiveness and compassion, so as to mitigate the consequences of a terrible crime and to enable my family finally to achieve some kind of closure to our ongoing nightmare.