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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Appeal court to rule on former Gulf News editor's conviction for killing wife

Francis Matthew, 62, to be told next month whether 10 year sentence will be reduced

Former Gulf News editor-at-large, Francis Matthew, pictured at the Dubai Press Club in 2009, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing his wife. Amy Leang / The National
Former Gulf News editor-at-large, Francis Matthew, pictured at the Dubai Press Club in 2009, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing his wife. Amy Leang / The National

A former editor of Gulf News who was jailed for 10 years for beating his wife to death will hear if his appeal to reduce his sentence is successful next month.

Francis Matthew, 62, was convicted of "physical assault leading to death" following the brutal attack in July last year.

During a hearing on Sunday, the jailed man's lawyer, Ali Al Shamsi, argued that his client’s sentence was too severe and should be reduced.

He also urged the court to lift the deportation order on Matthew after his sentence is served. Matthew is understood to want to remain in the UAE following his release.

“There is no criminal intent here and the case documents prove that,” said Mr Al Shamsi.

“The fact that this man and his now deceased wife... paid for tickets and hotel bookings to return home for their son’s graduation ceremony also backs the fact he did not have any intention of killing her.”

Dubai Court of Appeal has previously heard Matthew's lawyers argue that he was not aware of his actions when he attacked his wife during a heated argument over money at their home.

The British journalist used a hammer to hit his wife Jane on the head while she lay in bed.

Dr Muna Al Juhary, a forensic expert and witness for the defence, said that due to “severe pressure and emotional stress” the defendant had momentarily “lost all ability to distinguish right from wrong”.

She also claimed forensic reports showed Matthew only struck one blow with the hammer, not two as the prosecution had suggested.

The single blow had appeared to be two separate injuries because both ends of the hammer had made contact with the victim’s head, she said.

Matthew initially claimed his wife of more than 30 years had been killed by thieves who broke into their three-bedroom home on July 4 last year while he was at work.

But he later admitted killing the 62-year-old after an argument over his wish to move to a smaller property because the couple were in debt.

On March 25 this year, Matthew was jailed for 10 years. Since then he has launched an appeal against the length of his sentence.

The court’s verdict on the appeal is expected on October 7.