x

Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

Appeal hearing for former Gulf News editor who killed his wife is postponed

On Sunday, Francis Matthew's son — who previously gave a good character testimony — wept when he saw his father walk into Dubai Criminal Court

Former Gulf News editor-at-large, Francis Matthew, pictured at the Dubai Press Club in 2009. Amy Leang / The National
Former Gulf News editor-at-large, Francis Matthew, pictured at the Dubai Press Club in 2009. Amy Leang / The National

A newspaper editor who killed his wife in the heat of an argument appeared in court on Sunday to appeal his 10-year sentence.

Francis Matthew, 61, a former editor of Gulf News, faced the death penalty on an initial charge of murder but was convicted of physical assault leading to death and jailed.

The charge was changed at the request of the Briton's lawyer, Ali Al Shamsi.

On Sunday, Matthew's son — who previously gave a good character testimony to the court — cried upon seeing his father walk into Dubai Criminal Court.

Mr Al Shamsi asked for the hearing to be rescheduled so that the court could hear the testimony of a forensics expert who could not attend the hearing because of a death in the family.

The appeal hearing was postponed to September 9.

On Saturday, the family of Matthew's wife, Jane, said she had repeatedly urged him to leave Dubai after he amassed debts of up to a million dirhams.

Peter Manning, Jane's brother, challenged claims by Matthew that he struck his wife twice on the head with a hammer in the heat of an argument about their finances.

Mr Manning is calling for Matthew to serve his full term, saying tensions between the couple had been mounting for at least a year over their “frightening” finances.

In an interview with The National, Mr Manning said: “The argument was not ‘out of the blue’ as the defence claim. It puts that night in a very different light. It was not her ‘provocation’ that caused him to batter her. It was the situation he had got them into. This is a critical issue that must be examined by court.

“They had debts of more than £200,000 [Dh969,976] in the form of six credit cards and two loans. These were building up interest. It must have been frightening.”

_______________

Read more:

Former newspaper editor Francis Matthew 'had Dh1m debts' before he killed wife

Former Gulf News editor Francis Matthew jailed 10 years for killing wife in Dubai

Francis Matthew trial: Dubai court told of editor's blood-soaked bedroom and facts that didn't add up

_______________

On July 4, Dubai Police said they were called to Matthew's home in Jumeirah at 5.45pm where they found his 62-year-old wife of more than 30 years dead in bed with a severe head wound.

Police said Matthew initially claimed that Jane had been assaulted by robbers who had broken into their three-bedroom home and killed her while he was at work, between 8am and 5pm.

During questioning, Matthew later admitted to police that Jane had grown angry with him after he told her they needed to move to a smaller home because they were in debt.

Matthew said Jane provoked him, calling him a "loser" and saying it was his responsibility to provide them with money.

He told police Jane pushed him so he got a hammer from the kitchen, followed his wife to the bedroom and hit her twice on the head while she was laying in bed.

A forensics expert told the court that bruises around her mouth and upper lip indicated that she was silenced forcefully while on the bed.

Records show that the next morning, Matthew tried to make the house look like it had been robbed before he left for work, throwing the hammer, which he put in a plastic bag, in a nearby rubbish bin.

The court heard the testimonies of six people — four Emirati police officers, a Sri Lankan gardener and an Egyptian forensics expert. It also listened to good character testimonies from Matthew’s son, brother and sister.

In March, after Matthew received his verdict, Jane's family issued a statement expressing their disappointment and hope that the sentence would be changed on appeal. The statement said that "justice has not yet been done".