herald

Monday 27 March 2017

Man faces murder charge after wedding planner wife missing from cruise

Daniel Belling and his wife Xing Lei Li (Angie). Ms Li went missing on a Mediterranean cruise
Daniel Belling and his wife Xing Lei Li (Angie). Ms Li went missing on a Mediterranean cruise

The Dublin man facing a charge of murdering his wife after she disappeared from a luxury cruise ran a Cinderella-themed wedding planning business with her.

Daniel Belling's Chinese wife Xing Lei Li (Angie) founded Cinderella's Wedding in 2015 and offered a range of packages, including wedding dress rentals, flamboyant decor and photo album design.

Podcasts

The couple also had a range of podcasts on their website which featured personal commentary on tourism hotspots and festivals around Ireland.

They were on an 11-day cruise of the Mediterranean with their two children when Ms Li disappeared.

Neighbours of the family in Clare Village, Malahide Road, told the Herald that they often saw them drive in and out of the apartment complex in their Cinderella-styled car. They were described as "very odd".

Lubos Pcola said he once found Mr Belling (45) sleeping on the stairwell of the apartments.

"A few months ago a neighbour told me there was a homeless man sleeping in the stairwell. When I went to investigate I saw Daniel with blankets around him. He told me everything was fine," he said.

"I'm very shocked to hear that he got arrested - it's crazy."

Mr Belling, who is German, has been living and working in Dublin as an IT consultant.

The family's cruise began on February 9 in the port of Civitavecchia and took them to Malta, Greece and Cyprus.

When the luxury MSC Magnifica cruise ship docked 10 days later, Mr Belling's wife was reported missing after passenger numbers did not tally.

He had allegedly failed to tell the ship's crew that his wife was not on board, a fact that aroused the suspicions of Italian police.

Mr Belling's lawyer Luigi Conti said his client denies he had anything to do with his wife's disappearance and said there is a "perfectly good explanation" for what happened.

Ms Li previously appeared in court in Dublin after having her front door broken down by gardai when she refused to leave an apartment.

Rules

Dublin District Court heard there had been a dispute over unpaid rent and because she was keeping pets, which was against the landlord's rules.

The couple had fallen behind in their rent when they both lost their jobs. They had just got married at the time.

Ms Li was prosecuted on a charge of burglary with intent to cause criminal damage, but the charge was dismissed.

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