A manager accused of killing his girlfriend over a financial dispute will serve seven years in jail to be followed by deportation, a court ruled on Wednesday.
In March last year, the Dubai Court of First Instance gave the man a life sentence, after convicting him of killing the woman in a premeditated manner and stealing Dh6,500, a laptop bag, purse, wristwatch, six gold rings, nine earrings, nine pendants and 10 bracelets from her.
On grounds of leniency, the Dubai Appeal Court overturned the life sentence and reduced it to seven years in jail, after the 31-year-old Lebanese manager pleaded not guilty and contended that he didn’t intend to murder the victim.
The Dubai Cassation Court ordered to return the case to Appeal Court for retrial, but the Appeal Court upheld its verdict on Wednesday.
In April 2017, the Lebanese defendant went to the victim’s fifth-floor flat to discuss her unpaid debts. When she ignored him and went to the washroom, he followed her and choked her to death.
The victim’s family in Vietnam couldn’t contact their daughter for several days before they called up her compatriot friend in Dubai.
The friend said she called up other common friends, who advised her to go to the victim’s flat and check. “Her family called and told me that they had not been able to reach her. They sent me her address and before I visited her flat, I tried calling her too, but she didn’t answer. When I reached her building and knocked on the door, she did not respond. I checked the parking lot, and her car was there. When I asked the watchman, he said he had last seen her with a European-looking man entering the building. Her co-worker told me over the phone that he had not seen her, as he was in Saudi Arabia. Sometime later, he called me again and asked me to go to her flat. When I got there, I saw the police were already there and discovered her murder,” the friend testified.
A police lieutenant testified that the defendant was the last person seen entering her flat, on the building’s CCTV cameras.
“We apprehended the defendant at his workplace. He admitted during questioning that he had lent her Dh70,000 to buy a flat in her country and open a spa, after she had promised to enrol him as a partner. When he discovered that she had not listed him as a partner, he got angry. He said they constantly fought in the last few weeks before the incident. On the day of her death, he had an intense argument with her when he sensed she wasn’t planning to repay her debts. He followed her into the washroom, held her elbow against her neck and strangled her. He freaked out on realising that he had killed her. He then put her body in a bag and left, and stayed away until the police apprehended him,” the lieutenant said.