Dubai prosecutors are looking to get the death penalty for a British newspaper editor charged with murdering his wife with a hammer at the couple’s villa
Francis Matthew, is accused of the premeditated murder of Jane, his wife of more than 30 years, who was found in a pool of blood in their bed in July.
61- Year-Old Matthew, the editor-at-large of the Gulf News, pleaded not guilty to the charge when he appeared in a Dubai courtroom on Wednesday.
The journo, who along with his wife was a fixture of Dubai’s large British expatriate scene – looked frail and appeared in court wearing white prison clothes.
Dubai police said that they were called to the Matthews’ villa in Dubai’s Jumeirah neighborhood on July 4th.
There, they found Jane Matthew, 62, dead from severe head injuries.
Police said that Matthew told them that robbers broke into the house and killed his wife. He later said that he had thrown a hammer at her and killed her by accident during an argument, say authorities.
However, in a further interrogation, Matthew allegedly gave another version of the story.
Police said that the couple were in serious debt and were being forced to move house and that Matthew told interrogators that he had become enraged when his wife called him “a loser” and said that he needed to “provide financially”.
He then went and got a hammer and then hit her twice in the head, according to a police report. The next morning he reportedly threw the hammer in a skip and went to work like nothing had happened, police said.
“He told us that he got really angry, picked up a hammer from one of the shelves in the kitchen then followed her to the bedroom and hit her twice on her forehead while she was lying in her bed,” a police officer said to the court, according to The National newspaper. “He said he realised she was dead when she started bleeding heavily from the head and nose and, for a few minutes, he didn’t know what to do. Then he decided to fake the surrounding [area] into a robbery scene, so he made a mess in the bedroom and in the rest of the house.”
Ali al-Shamsi, Matthew’s lawyer, said there was “a mistake” in the autopsy report, however, did not elaborate.
Mr al-Shamsi said that he was seeking the minimum sentence for his client while Prosecutors told the court they would seek the death penalty if Matthew was convicted.
Matthew pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
The Matthews had been married since 1985 and have one son. The couple lived in Dubai for almost thirty years and Mr Matthew remained well connected in the wealthy Gulf state.