DUBAI // A waiter at Dubai International Airport strangled his girlfriend in a row over Dh200 (US$54) after taking her out to celebrate Valentine's Day, a Dubai court heard yesterday. SS, a 31-year-old Indian, then stole Dh300 from Han Han Soe's pockets before dumping her body down a manhole, Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance was told.
Prosecutors said that the row began after the couple had been out to Mamzar park for a belated celebration on February 16. According to police investigators, SS told them that as he was dropping Han, a 30-year-old waitress from Myanmar who also worked in Terminal 3 of Dubai airport, at her home in the Al Nahda district, they began quarrelling over Dh200, which he believed she owed him. In his statement to police, SS claimed that during the argument, he had pushed his girlfriend to the floor where she hit her head on the pavement.
The court was told that witnesses had seen her screaming, at which point SS strangled her. He then picked her body up and dumped it head-first into a manhole. The prosecution said that while he was doing this, Han's trousers had slipped off and SS had found Dh300 in the pockets, which he kept. Initially, SS was charged with premeditated murder, theft and consensual sex with the victim but, following forensic investigations, the sex charge was dropped.
"The exact timing of death cannot be determined," the forensic coroner told prosecutors during the investigation. "Neither could we confirm or deny if the victim has been engaging in any sexual activity prior to the murder due to the late stages of decomposition we found the body in." Han's flatmate Tandar Wen testified that when she had confronted SS the next day about her friend's whereabouts, "he started to panic and profusely sweat".
Miss Wen added: "He claimed that they went the night before to Mamzar park and then he dropped her off at 8.30pm in front of Al Madinah supermarket near her house and has not seen her since." She said the couple had been on two dates before the night of Han's death. The presiding judge, Al Saeed Mohammed Bargouth, adjourned the hearing to August 30 and ordered SS to be assigned a lawyer. Han is survived by a six-year-old daughter in Myanmar. SS, who denies murder, will remain in custody at Al Qusais police station.