Hong Kong ‘milkshake murderer’ Nancy Kissel loses final bid to appeal

Slain banker’s family welcome decision to deny new hearing for ‘milkshake murderer’

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 April, 2014, 12:45pm
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 6:02pm

The family of murdered banker Robert Kissel have welcomed the top court's decision to refuse his wife's final chance to overturn her conviction for killing him.

In a written statement the family said Nancy Kissell had been motivated by "insatiable greed" and thanked the many figures involved in the case for not being fooled by her "fabrication of lies".

"Justice has been served and Nancy will have a long time to contemplate her affront to her family and the world," the statement added.

The Court of Final Appeal refused to allow the "milkshake murderer" to appeal against the verdict of her 2011 retrial, in which she was found guilty of murdering her high-flying banker husband in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison.

Barrister Edward Fitzgerald QC, for Kissel, had argued the prosecution was wrong to tell the retrial's jury that his client was not suffering any psychiatric illness. He also argued that the trial judge had erred in directing the jury.

"We are not persuaded that the two grounds submitted by the applicant are arguable," Mr Justice Roberto Ribeiro said. He said that he and the court's two other judges, Mr Justice Robert Tang Ching and Mr Justice Joseph Fok, would hand down the reason for their decision later.

The decision ends a nine-year battle by Kissel, 49, who was first found guilty of murder in 2005.

She looked calm and stable after learning the judges' ruling and walked back to her cell with the assistance of prison officers.

She killed her husband Robert, a Merrill Lynch investment banker, at their luxury flat at the Parkview development in Tai Tam in 2003. She bludgeoned him to death with a lead ornament after incapacitating him with a drug-laced milkshake.

At her High Court trial in 2005 she admitted killing her husband, but claimed she had done so in self defence. But the jury found her guilty of murder and sentenced her to life in prison. That conviction was overturned in 2010 by the Court of Final Appeal, which cited legal errors.

At her retrial in 2011 Kissel denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility and provocation. However, she was once again found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

The Court of Appeal rejected an application by Kissel to appeal against the retrial verdict so she applied directly to the top court for permission to have her case heard.

Full text of statement released by Robert Kissel's sister, Jane Clayton, and father Bill Kissel 

"We miss Robert very much. He was a talented, upstanding father who loved his children very much. He did not deserve to be maligned as his wife sought to do to justify her insatiable greed.

To the Hong Kong legal system, we wish to express our special  thanks. The capable Judges, the two dedicated juries, the outstanding prosecutors and the fine police are a credit to be held aloft for the world to see. They were not fooled by Nancy Keeshin Kissel's fabrication of lies. Justice has been served and Nancy will have a long time to contemplate her affront to her family and the world.

Our family would also like to thank our attorney in Hong Kong, Andrew Powner. His advice and support was valuable and very much cherished.

And lastly, we wish to thank all the fine people of Hong Kong whom we had the good fortune to know through a most trying time."

Jane Clayton and Bill Kissel