Press release from Penguin for BLOOD ON THE PAGE



BLOOD ON THE PAGE: A MURDER, A SECRET TRIAL, A SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH, written by award-winning and Sunday Times bestselling author of Hanns and Rudolf and The House by the Lake Thomas Harding tells the story of the brutal murder of Allan Chappelow – a recluse who was battered to death and buried under four feet of book manuscripts inside his crumbling Hampstead home in 2006. The man arrested of his killing was a Chinese dissident named Wang Yam. His murder trial, when it took place, was the first in modern British history to be held ‘in-camera’: closed to the public and press.

During the last ten years in prison Wang Yam has always maintained his innocence but today the Royal Court of Justice dismissed his appeal and Wang Yam remains in prison.

Thomas Harding has spent two years investigating the case and in BLOOD ON THE PAGE reveals shocking and revelatory new material on the killing, the victim and the supposed perpetrator. He has had access to key witnesses, the investigating officers, forensic experts, and the journalists who broke the story as well as a new witness who has provided an alternative suspect story. Most of all, he has spoken exclusively to Wang Yam for over 30 hours from prison. The result is an explosive new work of non-fiction from an author working at the height of his powers.

Harding’s thorough examination of what has been described as 'the greatest whodunnit’ of recent years means he is perfectly placed to comment on the outcome of the Court of Appeal hearing including Yam’s reaction to the trial and his next steps.

Here is an introduction to the case presented by Thomas Harding which ran on BBC2: Newsnight.

BLOOD ON THE PAGE: A MURDER, A SECRET TRIAL, A SEARCH THE TRUTH by Thomas Harding will be published in hardback and eBook by William Heinemann on 25th January 2018.


Thomas Harding is an author and journalist who has written for the Financial Times, the Sunday Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, among other publications. He co- founded a television station in Oxford, England, and for many years was an award-winning documentary maker. He is the author of Hanns and Rudolf, a Sunday Times bestseller and

winner of the JQ-Wingate Prize; the internationally acclaimed Kadian Journal: A Father’s Story; and The House by the Lake, a Costa Biography Award and Orwell Prize nominee.


Hanns and Rudolf

  • -  ‘A gripping thriller, an unspeakable crime, an essential history’ John Le Carré

  • -  ‘Thomas Harding has shed intriguing new light on the strange poison of Nazism, and one of its most lethal practitioners ... Meticulously researched and deeply felt’ Ben Macintyre, Times 'Book of the Year'

  • -  ‘Fascinating and moving ...This is a remarkable book, which deserves a wide readership’

    Max Hastings, Sunday Times The House by the Lake

  • -  ‘A remarkable book’ Tom Holland

  • -  ‘Personal and panoramic, heart-wrenching yet uplifting, this is history at its

    most alive’ A. D. Miller

  • -  ‘This is far more than a family memoir: by tracing the lives of the different families who lived there, Harding sheds light on the German 20th century, a tale of war, spies, murder and political, social and racial division . . . His account of the house is a superb work of social history, told with tremendous narrative verve’ Sunday Times


    For further information, including interview and feature requests please contact Kate McQuaid, Publicity Director at William Heinemann, on 020 7840 8293 or

    Or visit

Wang Yam's fate to be known on 29 September

The Court of Appeal is set to 'hand down' their decision on Wang Yam case this Friday 29 September at 12.00 noon. It will take around ten minutes to read out. 

When the appeal was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in July 2017, the case was before three justices presided over by Lord Chief Justice Thomas. This Friday will be Thomas' last day in court before retiring on 2 November after 48 years in the law.

The options for the case outcomes are:

1. Wang Yam's original verdict stands and he remains in prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence (another 9 years)

2. Wang Yam's original verdict is unsafe, and the CPS chooses to retry the case.

3. Wang Yam's original verdict is unsafe, the CPS chooses not to retry the case and Wang Yam is released from prison.  

Wang Yam will not be present in court, he will be informed of the outcome soon after by his lawyers. 


Half way through September... and still no decision

Wang Yam's application to the Court of Appeal of England and Wales is still with the judges. He remains at Lowdham Grange prison while he awaits the news. 

Lord Chief Justice Thomas - one of the 3 justices who heard this case - is due to retire on 2 October this year, so a decision may well be handed down before this date... but even this is not certain.

We will post any updates that we have on this blog as soon as news arrives. 

No date set yet for judgement

We are still waiting for a date and time for when the Court of Appeal will hand down the decision on Wang Yam's appeal. 

It appears that it will not be on Tuesday 25 July as the court's daily list does not include this case. The decision may well be given on 26, 27 or 28 July. 

The court sits for the last time this session on 28 July 2017.

However, the court can hand down their decision during the summer or later. 

More soon... 

Wang Yam: No Verdict Yet

As of 12.42pm Friday 21 July 2017, there is no still no decision in Wang Yam's Court of Appeal case, nor is there a date for when the decision will be handed-down.

Given that the court does not sit on Monday 24 July, and that the court session ends on 31 July, it remains possible that a decision will be provided next week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.

An update will be provided when available, check back here for the latest. 

Court of Appeal hearing summary

Wang Yam's case was heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in Londonl today.

Starting at 10.30am and finishing after 3pm, it was a full day of hearing at the Court of Appeal Three new witnesses gave evidence in courtroom 4 before Lord Chief Justice Thomas and two others (Sweeney and May). 

Michael Dunn spoke about how he met a strange man with a Northern Irish accent carrying a plank of wood outside 9 Downshire Hill. This man suggested that Allan Chappelow had recently ridden his motorbikes to Liverpool, despite it being clear that they hadn't been mobile in years. 

Peter Hall said that he had numerous contacts with a man called "Allan" on West Heath, a gay cruising spot in NW London, and that this "Allan" had disappeared around the time of the murder of Allan Chappelow. Hall provided details about their activities, including a 'slapping bench', a paddle and a cat o nine tails. Hall said that when he saw Allan Chappelow's photo in the paper he recognized him as the man he'd be with on the Heath. 

Jonathan Bean said that he lived at 14a Downshire Hill and that he'd experienced a similar postal theft in Feb 2007 just a few months after the murder Allan Chappelow. He said that he'd been terrified, thinking he would suffer the same fate as his neighbor. He said he was surprised that his report to local police had not been handed to the murder investigation team. 

The prosecution lawyer Duncan Atkinson raised doubts about all three witnesses and said that their testimony was unlikely to have changed the jury's minds. 

Wang Yam's lawyer said the new evidence was enough to have his murder conviction overturned.

At the end of the hearing, Lord Chief Justice Thomas said that they would take some time to make a decision and would provide it as soon as possible. The Court of Appeal's term ends on 31 July 2017.

Update for Court of Appeal hearing

With five days to go before the Court of Appeal hearing, a few things are becoming clearer.

The hearing is likely to be held in the open, unless for some unforeseen reason the Lord Chief Justice insists that it be held in camera.

The court has set aside only one day for the hearing, so it is unlikely to flow into the next day, and no other cases are listed to be held that day.

The hearing will be held on 18 July 2017 in Court number 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, starting 10.30am. 

There is no indication either way as to whether the CPS will call for a retrial in the event that the court declares the original conviction unsafe. 

Wang Yam's lawyers' application for their client to appear in court in person has failed. He will follow the proceedings by video link from a prison in Nottinghamshire. 

This means that if Wang Yam's verdict is overturned he will be released from prison not from the Royal Courts of Justice.