x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Hummer verdict on Thursday

A verdict in the trial of an Emirati man accused of premeditated murder after running over a Scottish woman in his Hummer in May will be released on Thursday.

DUBAI // A verdict in the trial of an Emirati man accused of premeditated murder after running over a Scottish woman in his Hummer in May will be released on Thursday. The defendant could face the death penalty or life in prison if he is convicted, although his defence team has asked the court to reduce the charge to one of accidental death.

The victim, Katherine Wood, was crushed under the wheels of the defendant's Hummer. The defendant, a 22-year-old businessman identified only as A A, maintains that he did not see Mrs Wood and did not intend to kill her. The case was initially referred to the traffic court, but was later reclassified by the prosecutor as a criminal case and referred to the Criminal Court of First Instance. Mrs Wood was killed on May 30 while out celebrating her 52nd birthday with her husband and two friends. The group had just arrived at the Aviation Club in Garhoud when the Hummer pulled up behind their taxi at the club entrance. The driver flashed his headlights to get the taxi to move out of the way, prompting an argument with one of Mrs Wood's group. The defence claims one of the group made an offensive gesture at his client, which enraged him.

The defendant drove on to the pavement, knocking down Mr and Mrs Wood and another in their party, the court heard. The Hummer then reversed, crushing Mrs Wood. The defence lawyer, Abdelmenem Suwaidan, said Mrs Wood was intoxicated, as blood tests have shown, and so was unable to move out of the way fast enough. The defence claimed his client's intention was only to "scare" the victim and her group, and that he did not intend to kill anyone. He said his client could not see Mrs Wood as she was standing behind his vehicle.

Mrs Wood's husband, Jeffery, testified before the court in September that he saw the defendant's vehicle reverse over his wife's body. hbathish@thenational.ae