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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Francis Matthew trial: good character witnesses expected to fly in to UAE next month

The witnesses are expected to provide good character testimonies in favour of Francis Matthew who is accused of killing his wife with a hammer

Witnesses expected to testify in the trial for the suspected murder of a Dubai newspaper editor’s wife will fly in to the UAE from the UK next month.

The witnesses are expected to provide good character testimonies in favour of Francis Matthew, 61, Gulf News' editor-at-large, who is accused of killing his wife of more than 30 years Jane, 62, with a hammer.

“They are still in the UK and I am currently arranging with them,” Matthew’s lawyer, Ali Al Shamsi, told Dubai Criminal Court.

The judge also heard the testimony of a forensic expert though Mr Al Shamsi said it was not relevant to the case as the expert was not the doctor who carried out Jane’s autopsy.

“Your honour he said he was standing next to the doctor who performed the autopsy but didn't take part in it, that is not helpful for me, I need the doctor who did it,” said Mr Al Shamsi, who was then told by the court that the doctor who performed the autopsy on Matthew’s dead wife resigned.

The British expat is suspected of killing his wife at their home in Umm Suqeim 1 on July 3, last year. At court in September, Matthew denied a premeditated murder charge.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty if the court convicts him.

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Read more:

Francis Matthew trial: Dubai court told of editor's blood-soaked bedroom and facts that didn't add up

Updated: prosecutors seek death penalty for Gulf News editor-at-large accused of murdering wife

British newspaper editor to be charged over death of woman in Dubai home

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According to court records, Matthew reported his wife had been assaulted by thieves on July 4. Prosecutors later said they did not believe that to be the case.

A police officer said Matthew called them to the couple’s home at 5.45pm.

A police team, paramedics and forensic experts were dispatched to the villa and found the victim dead in her bed with a severe head wound.

During police questioning, the defendant said he left home at around 8am and returned from work at about 5pm to find his wife murdered in her bed. He denied having anything to do with the murder but police said he later admitted to hitting her on the head twice with a hammer.

Matthew allegedly told officers that he had told his wife he was facing financial difficulties due to bank loans and that they would need to relocate to a smaller apartment instead of their villa. Police said he told them problems then began between the two and the victim allegedly provoked Matthew, calling him a loser and saying that his responsibility was to provide money.

Matthew told police that his wife woke him at 7am on the day of the murder and followed him into the kitchen. When he tried to avoid another argument she allegedly provoked him again and pushed him.

Police said that Mathew admitted to getting really angry, then he picked up a hammer from one of the shelves in the kitchen and followed his wife to the bedroom where he hit her twice on her forehead while she was lying in her bed.

Records show that he then panicked then decided to fake the surrounding [area] into a robbery scene, so he made a mess in the bedroom and in the rest of the house.

The court has already heard the testimonies of six people — four Emirati police officers, a Sri Lankan gardener and an Egyptian forensic expert — all of whom gave incriminating testimonies against the defendant.

Matthew was editor of Gulf News from 1995 to 2005 and had been married to his wife Jane for more than 32 years.

The next hearing is scheduled for February 14.