x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Not guilty plea in 'extreme road rage' murder case

A court hears how a Hummer driver drove into a British woman and then reversed over her.

DUBAI // A man ran over a British expatriate in front of her husband in a fit of road rage, then reversed his Hummer over her as she lay dying, a court heard yesterday. Katherine Wood died on May 30 after she was hit by the vehicle while out celebrating her birthday in Garhood. Her husband and a friend were also injured during the incident. Eyewitnesses in court described the hit and run as "extreme road rage". In another witness statement, Mrs Wood's husband told the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance: "I looked up to see what had happened to Katherine and I saw the Hummer stop, then drive back over her body. At this point, all I can see is blood coming out of her eyes and ears." During his first court appearance yesterday, the defendant, an Emirati businessman identified only as AA, 22, denied the premeditated murder of Mrs Wood, the attempted murder of her husband and damaging public and private property. The court heard Mrs Wood, who had lived in Dubai for two years, had enjoyed a birthday dinner at the Meridien Hotel before heading into the Irish Village. Mrs Wood was with her husband and another couple. As the group arrived at the Aviation Club in a taxi, the vehicle partially blocked the service road behind them. AA, driving the Hummer, is alleged to have blown the horn and repeatedly flashed the vehicle's full beam lights at the taxi. He then hurled abuse at Mrs Wood's husband and two friends, who were out of the taxi and standing on the pavement outside the club. An eyewitness said the driver of the Hummer swore repeatedly at the group after what appeared to be "Mrs Woods taking her time paying the driver". "The Hummer got on to the pavement and drove into the two men, sending one of them six feet up in the air," said GK, an Australian who witnessed the incident. The men had been knocked to both sides of the road as AA's car hit Mrs Wood. She was just turning away from the taxi when the Hummer struck her, said a public prosecutor. The Hummer then drove off towards Garhood. According to public prosecution documents, Mrs Wood died in an ambulance en route to Rashid Hospital. Dubai police arrested AA the following day. AA told the court that Mrs Wood's death was a mistake and that he did not see the group. Mrs Wood and her husband had been married for 33 years and moved to Dubai from Inverness, Scotland. She worked as a saleswoman and her husband was an oil worker. The case was adjourned until Sept 4. shafez@thenational.ae