British editor appears in Dubai court over wife’s murder, pleads ‘not guilty’
Francis Matthew, the former Editor-at-Large of the Dubai-based Gulf News, appeared at the Dubai Criminal Court on Wednesday, pleading not guilty to charges related to the premeditated murder of his wife Jane Matthew.
Jane’s death was first reported on July 10.
Francis appeared in court with short hair, and appearing to have lost significant weight.
READ ALSO: UAE journalists in shock after British editor arrested over wife’s murder
Matthew was editor of the paper from 1995-2005. He has been a reporter and commentator in the Gulf from the 1980s.
The Dubai Public Prosecution asked the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance to apply the death penalty on the defendant.
According to the case file presented to court, the 61-year-old editor was arrested on July 4 after police were called to the scene.
A Lieutenant Colonel told prosecutors that the defendant confessed to committing the crime to the police, detailing that he got in to a series of arguments with the victim during the evening of July 3.
The police officer testified to prosecutors that the defendant said that since 2015 he was struggling financially due to debts.
He said that about a week before the incident, the defendant told his wife that they would have to move from the Jumeirah villa they live in to a flat, as the owner was planning to demolish the house.
He added that the reason for the planned move was because rent prices were high and that they could not afford to live in a villa.
The police officer said that the defendant had said that the victim was infuriated and started calling him names.
The arguments continued through July 3 and July 4, court documents show.
On the morning of July 4 the defendant told the officer that his wife came to him and started arguing about the move in the living room of the house. He said that he left the living room heading to the kitchen where she followed him and started pushing him with both hands.
At this point the officer's testimony states that the victim went to her bedroom and the defendant picked up a hammer and went towards the room where he struck her twice on the head.
The defendant then told the officer that when he realized his wife was dead he decided to stage a false crime scene, to fake the appearance of a robbery.
The man then left the house to his office before he returned some time later and called the police to report a break-in.
The defendant’s lawyer, Ali Al Shamsi, asked the court to postpone the case to prepare his defense.
The next hearing is set for October 25 by Criminal Court judge Irfan Omar.