x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Emirates air hostess murdered in Dubai with martial arts chokehold, court told

Accused used a technique targeting pressure points in the neck to make it appear as if the death of 28-year-old Emirates flight attendant was an accident, Dubai court hears.

DUBAI // A man used a martial arts stranglehold to kill his air hostess girlfriend when she tried to end their relationship, a court heard today.

EJ, 29, from Tunisia, used a technique targeting pressure points in the neck to make it appear as if the death of MR, a 28-year-old Emirates flight attendant from Japan, was an accident.

Prosecutors told the Criminal Court the murder took place at dawn on April 25 last year when the woman returned to her home in Al Nahda 1 after a flight. When she entered her home her lover threw her to the ground face down then pressed on her neck until she died.

Her lover then called police and told them he had returned home the previous evening to find the woman unconscious on the bathroom floor. He said he took her through to the sofa in the living room and splashed water on her face before trying to resuscitate her. He also told them the pair had been married for the past six months.

A forensics expert who examined the body while it was still in the Al Nahda residence declared that her death was due to natural causes, but a week later an autopsy showed she had been murdered.

When police arrested the man they found Dh14,000 of the woman's money hidden in his car under the passenger seat.

During interrogation, the man denied having any relationship problems with the woman, whom he continued to claim was his wife.

"We met in Jumeirah when we were both jogging," he said, claiming that they fell in love and got married despite the fact that she had heart problems and was infertile.

But the policeman JM, 37, an Emirati, said that the man kept changing his story. He said that when the woman's mother arrived in Dubai she told them the couple were not married. She said her daughter wanted to end the relationship and that this infuriated the man. She said the couple had been together since 2008 but that the relationship had soured because the man was constantly asking her daughter for money.

Friends of the air hostess said she had told them of previous attempts by the man to strangle her.

"She sent me text messages before her death telling me that she fed up with [her boyfriend] because he was possessive and always took money from her," recalled her former colleague ML, a 25-year-old Chinese flight attendant.

The man denied a charge of premeditated murder.

The court adjourned the case to May 28.

salamir@thenational.ae