Officers puzzled by evidence and Francis Matthew's unusually calm demeanour
Francis Matthew trial: Dubai court told of editor's blood-soaked bedroom and facts that didn't add up
Police investigating the suspected murder of a Dubai newspaper editor's wife found a series of inconsistencies in his story - and were puzzled by his unusually calm demeanour.
Officers gave evidence at the trial of Francis Matthew, 61, Gulf News' editor-at-large, who is accused of killing his wife Jane, 62, with a hammer.
The alleged murder took placed in early July at their villa in Umm Suqeim 1.
At Dubai Criminal Court on Sunday, a lieutenant colonel from Dubai Police’s Criminal Investigation Department said several holes in Matthew's story made officers suspect him early on.
The senior officer, 50, arrived at their home on July 4, after Matthew himself raised the alarm.
He claimed he had come home to find his wife dead in her bedroom, after what he claimed appeared to be a robbery.
The officer said Matthew claimed his wife was sleeping at first, only to realise she was surrounded by blood. But he said Matthew had made no apparent attempt to save her or hold her.
"He said he tried to wake her up, but noticed she was bleeding and attempted to save her. But he did that without one drop of blood on his clothes?” he said.
Matthew's suggestion that his wife had been the victim of thieves also did not add up, he testified.
On the ground was a small, unopened safe, which the officer said could have been carried, but had been simply pushed onto the bedroom floor.
“Why would thieves, whose main reason to break into a villa is to steal, leave behind a small safe that could be easily carried?" the officer said.
"And the safe was not open."
The fourth and final piece of evidence that puzzled him was Matthew's behaviour.
"It was his attitude as we questioned him - he was very calm, and showed no signs of shock at all,” said the Lt Colonel.
His colleague, a major also with CID, spoke to neighbours but found none had seen or heard any evidence of a break-in.
“All of them said that they saw no strangers around the villa,” said the 42-year-old officer.
He said after Matthew's arrest, he later admitted to killing his wife, but said he did not mean to end her life.
He said the argument started when she called him "a loser" when he broke the news that financial problems meant they would have to leave their villa for a small apartment.
Matthew denied premeditated murder in a previous hearing in September.
But prosecutors said the attack was intentional, and that he hit her twice on the head with a hammer.
He then went to work at his newspaper's office at 8am the same day and returned about 5pm on July 4.
“He told us he was facing financial difficulties due to bank loans and that he told her they need to relocate to a smaller apartment, after which she insulted him repeatedly," another investigating officer testified.
"They later had dinner and watched TV until 11pm, then started arguing about his financial problems again. So he left her and went to sleep. But she woke him up at nearly 2am to argue again, then insulted and pushed him."
He added that Matthew slept in the living room to avoid a scuffle, but at 7am his wife followed him to the kitchen and then pushed him again.
Matthew grew angry, picked up a hammer from one of the shelves in the kitchen then followed his wife to the bedroom, where he hit her twice on the forehead, the officer said.
A forensic expert said that bruises around the mouth and upper lip indicate that she was silenced forcefully while on the bed.
Police said he took the hammer in a plastic bag and threw it away, then went to work.
Francis was editor of Gulf News between 1995 and 2005 and went on to work as editor-at-large until the alleged murder.
He had been married to Jane Matthew for more than 30 years.
The next hearing will be on December 17, when more evidence will be heard.