Life sentence for murder of British husband

Victim's family to file lawsuit for custody of the couple's two children.

A Chinese woman who stabbed her estranged British husband to death has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court.

Fu Weiwei, 31, met Michael Simpson, 36, in 2009 when she was a shop assistant at a Shanghai outlet of UK-based retailer Next. Simpson had moved to Shanghai to take charge of Next’s operations in China.

The couple married soon after and had two children. They separated in 2015 and, later, Simpson took up with a new girlfriend surnamed Lin.

According to court papers, Fu was angry to hear that Simpson was living with his new girlfriend. 

At 8am on March 20 last year, she went to his home. There, after a quarrel, she stabbed him in the neck and chest causing his death from severe blood loss. Police apprehended her at the scene.

Fang Jie, lawyer for Simpson’s family, told Shanghai Daily the two children had been sleeping upstairs at the time of the murder. Fu’s brother took them back to Fu’s hometown of Xiangyang in Hubei Province, where they are currently being looked after by her parents.

Fu’s lawyer Yu Zhiwen, told Red Star News that the couple had separated because Simpson encountered financial problems. But Ian Simpson, the victim’s father, said Fu, who quit her job after the couple got married, cared less about the family and more about going shopping. That was the reason, Fang said, for the breakup. 

Fang said Simpson’s parents would be filing a lawsuit for custody of the children.

Before the court announced its verdict, the two sides had talked and the victim’s father said he would ask the court for a light sentence if Fu’s parents returned the children.

Yu told Red Star News that Fu feared that if the children were taken to UK, she would have no chance to see them again. She asked Simpson’s family to deposit 550,000 yuan (US$82,914) to ensure the children could fly back to visit her once a year.

Simpson’s family has reportedly rejected this request.

“In this case, the grandparents from both sides have the same right to raise their grandchildren,” Fang said. “Such a request is ridiculous.”

In an interview with the UK’s Daily Mail, Ian Simpson condemned “using the kids as pawns to extort money.” He also said the children should be with them in UK because Fu’s parents were less-educated and lived in a shabby environment.

“We just want what is best for our grandchildren. They will have a better upbringing here in the UK,” he told the newspaper. “We have already lost our son due to her and we do not want to lose our grandchildren as well.”

Special Reports