Former surgeon guilty of Chinese-Australian family hammer murder in Sydney

SYDNEY (AFP) - A former surgeon was on Thursday (Jan 12) found guilty of murdering five members of a Chinese-Australian family in Sydney, including two children, in a gruesome case that shocked the country.

Robert Xie, 53, was charged with killing his Chinese-born brother-in-law Norman Lin, Lin's wife Lily, their sons Henry, 12, and Terry, 9, and Lily's sister Irene.

Their bodies were found in their northwestern Sydney home in July 2009.

The long-running case saw Xie - an ear, nose and throat surgeon in China before moving to Australia in 2002 - face four murder trials. Two were aborted, one ended in a hung jury and the most recent retrial lasted six months.

Xie was found guilty by the majority of a New South Wales Supreme Court jury, and will be sentenced on Feb 10, a court official told AFP.

"I did not murder the Lin family, I am innocent," Xie told the court after the verdict was announced, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

His wife sobbed, saying "he's innocent", the newspaper added.

Prosecutors alleged that Xie was motivated by bitterness towards the family.

It was Xie and his wife Kathy Lin, the sister of Norman, who discovered the bodies and called police, sparking a mammoth investigation spanning Australia and China. He was eventually charged in 2011.

The three adults were killed in their beds, with their faces "smashed by a hammer-like object" with a rope attached to it. The children were murdered in their rooms with one hit 18 times.