Former newspaper editor Francis Matthew 'had Dh1m debts' before he killed wife
Brother of Jane Matthew calls for 10 year sentence to be upheld as ex Gulf News editor prepares appeal
The wife of newspaper editor Francis Matthew repeatedly urged him to leave Dubai after he amassed debts of nearly a million dirhams before she was killed, her family say.
They are challenging claims by Matthew that he struck his wife twice on the head with a hammer in the heat of an argument about their finances.
Matthew, 61, a former editor of Gulf News, is appealing against a 10-year sentence handed down by a Dubai Court, after he claimed he did not plan to kill his wife or hit her to cause fatal injury.
Peter Manning, the brother of the deceased, is calling for Matthew to serve his full term, saying tensions between the couple had been mounting for at least a year over their “frightening” finances.
In an interview with The National, Mr Manning said: “Jane felt completely trapped in Dubai by Francis. She had wanted to leave Dubai for years, but Francis would not give up his position at work. So she grew more and more unhappy. This went on for years.
“We know that the debt and Francis’s intransigence about moving to the UK meant that tension in the house was high over a long period,” he said.
“The argument was not ‘out of the blue’ as the defence claim. It puts that night in a very different light. It was not her ‘provocation’ that caused him to batter her. It was the situation he had got them into. This is a critical issue that must be examined by court.”
Mr Manning disputed defence claims that his sister became angry after learning the true extent of their finances and being told they would have to move to a smaller home.
“We have already said that she, in fact, knew about this for around a year, so this is not true. Then there was the constant worry about debt on top,” said Mr Manning.
“They had debts of over £200,000 in the form of six credit cards and two loans. These were building up interest. It must have been frightening.”
Matthew was convicted in March after the court changed the initial charge to physical assault leading to death.
Dubai Police were called to Matthew’s home in Umm Suqeim at 5.45pm last July 3, where they found his 62-year-old wife dead in bed with severe head wounds.
Police said Matthew initially claimed his wife had been assaulted by robbers who had broken into their three-bedroom home and killed her while he was at work. But he later admitted to police that his wife had grown angry with him after finding out they need to move to a smaller house as a result of his financial problems. He claimed that his wife provoked him by calling him a “loser” and saying it was his responsibility to provide them with money.
Mr Manning said the family had been concerned about his sister for some time and knew she was deeply unhappy.
“She told us so frequently. My father wrote to Francis to spell this out but he didn’t reply,” he said.
Prosecutors are to push for a tougher sentence against the former Gulf News editor. Last month prosecutors told Dubai Court of Appeal that the killing of the journalist’s wife was premeditated – not just in the heat of the moment.
Updated: July 1, 2018 08:22 AM