A mainland civil servant accused of murdering his ex-wife by pushing her off a floating casino told police he had accidentally killed her while trying to stop her from committing suicide before pushing the body off the deck to fulfil her wish for a sea burial, a court heard yesterday. Wang Weilie, 49, a policy research officer at the Guangzhou municipal committee, pleaded not guilty in the Court of First Instance to murdering Yang Wenjuan on September 24 last year. Prosecutor Patrick Loftus said Wang told police that he threw Yang's body into the sea after she died from a fatal blow to her head, suffered during a struggle as he stopped her from killing herself. But Loftus said an autopsy showed that the woman died of drowning and the blow to her head was not life-threatening, while Yang's sister had described the victim as a cheerful and optimistic person who had a lot of friends. The court heard that Wang had wanted to plead guilty to manslaughter, but this was not accepted by the prosecution. Loftus said Wang and the victim arrived in Hong Kong from Guangzhou on September 23 last year and boarded the Macau Success floating casino that night. At about 7am the next day, a female passenger, Liu Ying, who was exercising on deck, saw Wang push his wife's head backwards towards the railings. Afraid, Liu went immediately to report what had happened. When she returned to the scene, the couple had gone and she saw bloodstains on the deck, the court heard. Security guards later found and held Wang, who looked dazed. He murmured: 'Gambling causes people great harm,' Loftus said. The court heard that Wang told the guards he had a stomach ache and asked to go back to his room. Upon entering the room, Wang immediately locked the door from inside. The guards opened the door and saw the man washing his face, the court was told. When asked where his ex-wife was, Wang said: 'She fell down.' The guards reported it to police. Wang later told police on the boat that his ex-wife often told him that she wanted to kill herself because of work pressure, Loftus said. The prosecutor said Wang told police that just before the killing, he saw Yang about to kill herself and struggled with her to stop her. During the struggle, he said, he caused her head to hit the railing, knocking her unconscious. Seeing no signs of life, he believed she was dead so he pushed her into the sea. 'My wife said to me previously that in case she died, then throw her body into the sea,' Wang told police. An autopsy found the cause of death to be drowning. A number of non-life-threatening injuries were found on the body - including some caused by heavy blows to her head. Yang's sister told police that the victim had never told her what kind of funeral she wanted. The trial continues before Mr Justice Peter Line.