x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Man on trial for killing wife says she stabbed herself while drunk, Dubai court hears

Pakistani drove his wife's body to Ras Al Khaimah, where he dumped it, but he insists she killed herself after argument caused by her belief he was cheating on her.

DUBAI // A man accused of killing his wife claims that he is innocent and that she stabbed herself while drunk.

Pakistani L R, 40, made the claim at Dubai Criminal Court on Wednesday.

He said: “She was drunk and stabbed herself, then I got scared when she fell motionless and I put her body in a plastic bag then drove to Ras Al Khaimah and dumped the bag there.”

Records show that the body of Najma Banon, who was thought to be in her mid-thirties, was discovered by RAK Police in 2010 and an investigation led to her husband, who lives in Dubai.

Records did not show why it had taken four years for the case to reach court.

Prosecutors said that on January 28, 2010, the husband had asked his neighbours to look after his young daughter because he and his wife had to go to Pakistan to renew his wife’s passport.

“My wife agreed on sheltering the girl because we are neighbours, we know they are married but we have never seen a contract or something to prove that marriage and all we know about them is that they are both alcoholics,” testified M A, the defendant’s neighbour in Al Muraqqabat and a fellow Pakistani.

“When he handed the girl to my wife, he was crying so hard and then he confessed that his crying was because his wife was not travelling with him but, in fact, had fled the house.”

The neighbour said the defendant told him to keep the girl for 10 days. She remained with them for 23 days before the father returned.

“He would call me often to check on the girl and told me that if his wife came I can give her the girl, then he asked me to give the girl to his wife’s sister, but she never came,” the neighbour said.

It was not clear in records what happened to the girl after the crime was discovered and her father arrested.

Another neighbour testified that the deceased had once called his mother and complained that her husband had assaulted her. “But I have no information regarding the killing incident,” said T R, a Pakistani worker.

The defendant’s brother, A R, testified that his sibling surprised him when he returned to Pakistan. “He confessed to me and to the entire family and to his other wife in Pakistan that he had killed his wife in Dubai,” said A R, who added that his brother said he fought with his wife while the two were drunk and then he killed her.

“He did not say what the fight was about, but he told me that he was in a relationship with her before the marriage and that he married her on a piece of paper when she got pregnant from him but then they had several fights together during which the two assaulted each other,” A R said.

During prosecution investigations, the husband claimed that the fight with his wife was over her suspicion that he had been cheating on her.

“I told her I didn’t have any affairs but she didn’t believe me and grabbed a knife, threatening to stab our daughter if I did not confess, so I pushed her and she stabbed herself. She was drunk,” he said.

The defendant also said that he got scared and left her bleeding for about 20 minutes before she died. He then went to a nearby supermarket and bought a rubbish bag, hid her body in it and then drove to Ras Al Khaimah to dump it.

The husband denied a premeditated murder charge in court on Wednesday and confirmed that the deceased was his wife. He said the two got married in Ajman in the presence of a man of religion and two witnesses.

It is not known where the defendant’s daughter is now.

The next hearing is on April 23.

salamir@thenational.ae