x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Briton admits beating Winter but denies murder

A man confesses to beating Kerry Winter with a stick but denies premeditated murder.

Kerry Winter was last seen being attacked and bundled into the back of her own 4x4 outside her home in Al Barsha on Aug 20.
Kerry Winter was last seen being attacked and bundled into the back of her own 4x4 outside her home in Al Barsha on Aug 20.

A British man has confessed to beating the missing South African woman Kerry Winter with a stick and said she died in his car, it emerged yesterday. But officials said the suspect, identified as M A, 42, denies premeditated murder. Instead he said he battered her with a wooden stick and drove her away from her home on Aug 20. He said she died three hours later. Dubai Police reported to the public prosecutor that M A, who has been in custody since Aug 25, had taken them to two sites where he claimed to have left the body but on both occasions she was not found. Police sources said the first site was in the desert and the second was offshore, near where M?A keeps a boat. Police have not yet laid a murder charge against M A, who was allegedly seen by one of Ms Winter's neighbours hitting her outside her home in Al Barsha. Ms Winter's brother, Kurt Winter, said he had heard from a police officer that M?A had confessed. He said: "We've known about a confession for a couple of days, but decided not to say anything, because the whole thing feels wrong. [He] has apparently been out with the cops in the desert and out on a boat off the Dubai coast, supposedly searching for a body." "I think he's stringing them along and stalling for time for some reason," Mr Winter said. "We don't know if he has made a proper confession on the record, and if he has whether it is real." Ms Winter, 35, an events organiser, was last seen being attacked and bundled into the back of her own 4x4 outside her home in Al Barsha on Aug 20. Her car was discovered the following week in the Dubai Marina district. Mr Winter and Ms Winter's nephew, David Giles, have been in Dubai searching for more than three weeks. This week Mr Winter revealed the strain his sister's disappearance was placing on the family. "My mum is very ill, and this is doing her no good. I'm probably going to sell some property to raise money for lawyers' fees. We've just hired one, they're incredibly expensive." The family suffered a similar tragedy 10 years ago when a cousin went missing. She has not been seen since. Police have said that on the night she was last seen, Ms Winter, who moved from Johannesburg to Dubai seven years ago, met a friend at a bar in Jumeirah, and from there she was followed home by M A. Despite overwhelming support from Dubai residents and volunteer groups, who conducted a search of the city two weeks ago, the family have turned up very few clues to Ms Winter's whereabouts. Her mobile phone, which had been missing since her disappearance, was last week switched on and answered by an unknown male, who immediately turned it off. The family say they feel abandoned by authorities in Dubai and have been forced to investigate her disappearance on their own. Mr Winter said Dubai Police and the South African Embassy were not doing enough to trace her. Although she has been missing for almost a month and police believe she is dead, Mr Winter said he still had not given up hope of finding his sister alive. "There's no body. That's why I have to stay positive that Kerry is out there." garis@thenational.ae rbaker@thenational.ae * With additional reporting by Hani Bathish