x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Killer's sentence cut by three years

A Dubai businessman who ran over and killed a Scottish woman in his Hummer is granted a reduction in his prison sentence.

Jeff Wood with his wife Kate.
Jeff Wood with his wife Kate.

DUBAI // The man who ran over and killed a Scottish woman in his Hummer was granted a reduction in his prison sentence yesterday. The Dubai Appeal Court cut from 10 years to seven the sentence imposed on AA, 22, an Emirati businessman convicted of killing Katherine Wood. The man's lawyer had appealed against both conviction and sentence. The conviction was upheld. The court also rejected an appeal for a longer sentence submitted by lawyers for the woman's husband, Jeffrey Wood. AA did not appear in court.

Mr Wood said the shortened sentence was "shocking". "All sorts of excuses have been made for this man, the fact he is very young for one, but he knew exactly what he was doing," he said. "Today is my late wife's birthday. As you can imagine, I am not in the best of spirits. The ruling could not have come at a worse time for me." Mrs Wood died during an evening out with her husband and two friends on May 30 last year.

As they stepped from their taxi at the Dubai Aviation Club, an argument broke out between the defendant and one of Mrs Wood's group. The defendant's vehicle was immediately behind the taxi and he was angry at being kept waiting. AA later claimed that a one of the group made a rude gesture. He drove his vehicle on to the pavement and into Mrs Wood, her husband and another member of the group. Mrs Wood fell under the car's wheels and the defendant backed up over her, according to witnesses. After yesterday's ruling, the appeal court referred the case to the Dubai Civil Court, where any claim for compensation would be heard. Mr Wood declined to say whether he would initiate a civil case, indicating he would consult with his lawyer.

The prosecution and the defendant could make further appeals to the Dubai Court of Cassation, the highest court in the emirate, but only if claiming that the law had not been correctly applied. Otherwise the ruling is final. The trial judge, Abdelmajid al Nizami, had said that it was clear that AA was "acting in a moment of anger and loss of control, and thus the court rules out the presence of any element of premeditation. "Premeditation requires a calm and calculating demeanour, and that was not the defendant's state of mind at the time of committing the crime. "But he should have been aware that his actions would result in the victim's death." hbathish@thenational.ae