x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Kerry Winter murderer’s life sentence upheld

Dubai’s highest court upholds life sentence on Mark Arnold, bringing the criminal appeal process to an end after more than two years.

Dubai's highest court has upheld the life sentence against the man convicted of the murder of South African Kerry Winter.
Dubai's highest court has upheld the life sentence against the man convicted of the murder of South African Kerry Winter.

DUBAI // Kerry Winter’s mother yesterday asked her daughter’s killer to finally reveal where he dumped her body, as the two-and-a-half year murder case came to an end.

Dubai’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, yesterday upheld the life sentence against the 44-year-old British businessman Mark Arnold, convicted of the murder of South African Kerry Winter.

He has no further avenues of appeal.

Kerry, a 36-year-old South African events executive, disappeared on August 20, 2008. Her body has never been found.

The Dubai Court of Appeals had ruled on December 19 that Arnold would serve life in prison, or 25 years. The court extended a 15-year sentence imposed by the Criminal Court of First Instance earlier in the year.

Carol Winter, Kerry’s mother, said after yesterday’s ruling: “It has gone on so long, it just doesn’t feel like closure for me now. I suppose I always hoped that somehow we might find Kerry, but this last hearing makes it all very final.

“I don’t know what to say. If he has 25 years, maybe that will make him tell us where she is now. He has nothing to lose.”

The family’s lawyer said they intended to increase the amount sought in damages from Arnold in a civil lawsuit.

Arnold maintained his innocence throughout the trial and claimed that his confessions were obtained under threat. He retracted them in court. Arnold expressed his disbelief with yesterday’s final verdict.

“This is blatant injustice. How can they admit there was no premeditation and then sentence me to 25 years?” he said.

Last week the Cassation Court judge Mohammed Nabil Riyad told the defence lawyer Yousif Hammad to proceed with his argument without any references to premeditation, because no premeditation had been demonstrated.

The Winter family lawyer, Hussien al Jaziri, said yesterday: “We are still insisting that Mark tell us where her body is. The family would like to fulfil her burial rites and lay her to rest.

“Now that the criminal legal proceedings have been completed, and he was found guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, we will go to the civil court and pursue our claim, which will be changed. We will decide on the civil compensation amount after we talk with the family.”

The civil claim for Dh400,000, filed by the Winter family after the first lower court verdict, will be increased, Mr al Jaziri said.

Prosecutors presented differing accounts of what happened to Kerry based on confessions from Arnold.

One theory was that her body had been dumped in the desert. Another, presented in court, suggested the victim had been dumped at sea.

During the court proceedings that followed Kerry’s disappearance, prosecutors said Arnold saw her at Madinat Jumeirah on the day of the murder and followed her back to Al Barsha.

Two neighbours told the court he beat her with a baseball bat, then dragged her into her Ford Explorer anddrove away. Prosecutors said he drove to his boat, where he placed her body in a hessian sack and tossed it overboard.

Arnold left the country after Kerry went missing, but flew back five days later. He was arrested at Dubai International Airport and charged with premeditated murder.