x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

British Embassy confirms suspect in disappearance

The suspect being held in connection with the disappearance of Kerry Winter was named as Mark Arnold, 42.

DUBAI // The suspect being held in connection with the disappearance of Kerry Winter was named publicly by the British Embassy yesterday as the South African woman's former boyfriend, Mark Arnold, 42. Arnold has been in police custody since Aug 25, when he was arrested at Dubai International Airport as he returned from a brief visit to the UK.

He has been named in several British newspapers, but Dubai Police have not confirmed his identity. Ms Winter, 35, an events co-ordinator who had lived in Dubai for seven years, was last seen on Aug 20 being attacked with a baseball bat and pushed into the back of her car outside her home in Al Barsha. A British Embassy spokesman said: "We are aware of this case involving a British national, Mark Arnold, and we are offering him full consular assistance."

It is understood that Arnold, from Stoke-on-Trent, England, has admitted assaulting Ms Winter. He claims he later dropped her off near the Arabian Ranches roundabout. It also emerged yesterday that Arnold's current girlfriend, another South African woman, is expected back in Dubai within days to be questioned by the police. Ms Winter's brother, Kurt, who has been in Dubai for two weeks searching for his sister, said the woman may be able to provide information about the case. "She holds a lot of the missing pieces and will be able to help us search for Kerry," Mr Winter said.

"Arnold has said that on the night he met Kerry having a drink, the night she disappeared, this girl was having her hair done and he had to pick her up from the salon afterwards. This means she saw him that night." Ms Winter's family said this week that her mobile phone was switched on and was answered by an unknown man, who then quickly hung up. The man, who spoke in broken English, did not answer the phone again, despite numerous calls by her family. They hope that Dubai Police will be able to trace the call using GPS coordinates.

Mr Winter and David Giles, Ms Winter's nephew, spent yesterday looking for clues in the desert area near where Ms Winter was last seen. The family is waiting for the outcome of a yet-to-be arranged meeting between top-ranking Dubai Police officers and South African consulate officials. garis@thenational.ae