Dubai: Three police officers testified in court on Sunday that a British journalist had claimed that he didn’t intend to kill his wife in July but the crime scene implied otherwise.
The 61-year-old British suspect, Francis Mathew, entered a not guilty plea to intentionally killing his wife by hitting her forehead twice with a hammer when he appeared before the Dubai Court of First Instance in September.
Records said Mathew, a former Gulf News staff member, struck his wife’s forehead with a hammer two times and killed her following a heated argument over financial issues. The incident allegedly happened around 7am on July 4 at the British couple’s villa in Umm Suqeim.
Giving their testimonies before presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi on Sunday, three police officers testified that the suspect told them during questioning that he fought with his wife and didn’t intend to kill her, but on-site examination of the murder scene implied that he had intended to kill her.
“While interrogating him, the suspect claimed that he had a fight with his wife over financial issues and debts … then when she pushed and belittled him and headed to the bedroom, he got angry and followed her. Then he grabbed the hammer and struck her, according to his police statement, but stressed that he didn’t intend to kill her. However, the crime scene investigations showed as if he had intended to kill her,” testified a brigadier in response to a question by presiding judge Al Shamsi.
Cross-examined by the presiding judge and the suspect’s lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi, a police captain told the court that the couple had brawled for nearly two weeks over moving out from their villa in Umm Suqeim to a smaller flat.
“In the two weeks that preceded the incident, the suspect informed his wife that they had to move out to a flat … but she was against that. According to his statement to police, the Briton said the victim did not want to move out to a flat and insisted on a villa. He also claimed that on the day of the incident, she cursed and repeatedly pushed him … she also told him that he [being the man of the house] has to provide her with a villa to live in and not a flat. The suspect alleged that when she pushed and cursed him, he got angry when she walked to the room … so he claimed that he followed her and picked up the hammer on his way and then struck her. Though he said he didn’t intend to kill her, but the way in which the striking happened [on the head] proved otherwise,” said the captain.
A third witness, also a brigadier, testified in court that Mathew alleged during interrogations that the victim repeatedly cursed and pushed him in the kitchen when they were continuing a heated argument [over the same issue] and that had started the night before.
Presiding judge Al Shamsi adjourned the court to hear the remaining prosecution witnesses when it reconvenes on December 17.
Prosecutors are seeking a death sentence against the suspect as per Article 332 of the UAE Penal Code.
Dubai Police’s forensic examiner said the victim sustained fractures and bled from the head.