x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

No further charges in Winter murder

A request to return the Kerry Winter murder trial to prosecution so further charges against the defendant could be added has been denied.

DUBAI // A request to return the Kerry Winter murder trial to prosecution so further charges against the defendant could be added has been denied. Hussein al Jaziri, the Winter family lawyer, yesterday asked the Dubai Court of Appeal to refer the case back to the public prosecutors' office to allow charges of concealing a body to be added to defendant M A's premeditated murder charge.

The court refused and dismissed the request. No reason was given. M A, the former boyfriend of Winter, was found guilty of premeditated murder by the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance on June 7 and sentenced to 15 years in jail. Meanwhile, two prosecution witnesses summoned by M A's defence lawyer, Yousif Hammad, failed to show up at yesterday's hearing. At the last hearing, Mr Hammad asked the appeal court to present two former colleagues of M A's for questioning.

The colleagues, Maurice Agorious from Britain and Abdel Salam Khan from Pakistan, were key to the prosecution's case. Mr Agorious claimed he purchased a large burlap sack for the defendant, and prosecutors speculated this was where M A placed the body of Ms Winter before dumping it at sea. Mr Khan told prosecutors that M A had been stalking Ms Winter for days with a GPS tracking device before he killed her. 

Both men have failed to appear in court before, first at the lower court's hearings and now at the higher court sessions.   Prosecutors told the court yesterday the two were not subpoenaed because they could not be located. The court ordered prosecutors to investigate with the General Director of Residency and Foreigners Affairs whether Mr Agorious and Mr Khan still reside in the country.  Winter, who was 36 when she disappeared, was last seen on August 20, 2008 outside her Al Barsha villa. Despite extensive searches, no body has been found.

The defendant was arrested after neighbours told prosecutors they saw him beat her with a baseball bat before dragging her into a car and driving away. The court will reconvene on September 26 to hear the prosecution's response to the requests for the witnesses.
amustafa@thenational.ae