x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Driver killed lover after she said she was pregnant, court told

A man who had been working as driver is accused of murdering his employer's cook after she told him she was going to have their baby.

ABU DHABI // A man who had been employed as driver murdered his lover after she told him she was pregnant, the Criminal Court was told yesterday. AK, a 39-year-old Indian, hit ZRR, the cook of his employer, twice on the head with a stone, then burned her, prosecutors said. The defendant, who is charged with first-degree murder, burning a person to death, consensual sex and trespassing, faces the death penalty. He has admitted the killing.

Prosecutors said AK and ZRR, a 35-year-old Indonesian, fell in love last year and had repeated sexual encounters, which AK denies. In his testimony to the police, AK said he began a relationship with the woman after he saw her throwing out rubbish. On December 24 last year, the victim was said to have told AK that she was pregnant with their child, the court heard. According to AK's statement to police, he was outraged. He told police that they had not had sex and he had only kissed the woman.

According to the charges, he broke into the woman's room, in a building separate from the main living quarters, while the owner of the house and his family were in Saudi Arabia. "When she insisted on her claims, he hit her twice on her head with a stone that he found in her bathroom," said Maj Jumaa al Kaabi, the head of Abu Dhabi CID's murder section. A post-mortem examination indicated that ZRR was not pregnant and showed no signs of a physical struggle.

AK allegedly poured petrol in different parts of ZRR's bedroom and covered her body with tissues before setting the room on fire. Upon their return, the family discovered ZRR's burned body on the single mattress on which she normally slept. Police were called and AK was found in a neighbouring house, where he was hiding, prosecutors said. It is not known whether ZRR's death was caused by being beaten or by smoke inhalation.

Chief Justice Sayeed Abdul Baseer asked if ZRR was represented by any family members. This is a court procedure required to determine whether or not a victim's family will accept blood money. Court officials will attempt to reach ZRR's family in Indonesia. If the family chooses to accept a financial settlement, they waive their right to seek the death penalty. The hearing was adjourned until July 12, when it will hear from the defence.

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