A court in Northern China apologised for falsely executing teenager 18 years ago Reuters

A court in China has found a man not guilty of the rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet 18 years after he was found guilty and executed.

Inner Mongolia's High Court cleared Huugjilt, who was 18 at the time of his death, of the alleged crimes and apologised to his distraught parents, who were offered 30,000 yuan (£3,080) in sympathy money by the court, according to state media outlet Xinhua.

The deputy head of the court, Zhao Jianping, offered his "sincere apologies" to the teenager's parents and told them that they could claim compensation in addition to the sympathy payment.

"We learnt a heart-breaking lesson in this case; we are sorry," he said.

Huugjilt was convicted of committing the crime in Hohhot on 9 April 1996 but a serial rapist and killer, Zhao Zhihong, confessed to the crime in 2005. The retrial was only held this year.

Miao Li, the lawyer representing Huugjilt, told the South China Morning Post that she would help his parents receive the compensation that they deserved.

China is believed to commit more executions than the rest of the world combined but keeps its data on the death penalty secret.