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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Prosecutors pursue a murder sentence for ex-Gulf News editor

Prosecution tells Dubai Court of Appeal that killing of journalist's wife Jane was premeditated - not just in the heat of the moment

Former Gulf News editor-at-large, Francis Matthew, pictured at the Dubai Press Club in 2009, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing his wife Jane. Amy Leang / The National
Former Gulf News editor-at-large, Francis Matthew, pictured at the Dubai Press Club in 2009, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing his wife Jane. Amy Leang / The National

Prosecutors are to push for a tougher sentence against the former Gulf News editor Francis Matthew, who was jailed for 10 years for killing his wife.

Prosecution officials say the 61-year-old British journalist carried out the premeditated murder of his wife Jane on July 3 last year.

Dubai Criminal Court in March found him guilty of the lesser charge of physical assault leading to death.

Premeditated murder would have likely seen Matthew given a life sentence or even the death penalty. He denied the charge at the appeals court on Sunday.

“I’m not guilty,” Francis Matthew said, during his first appearance at Dubai Court of Appeal.

His lawyer, Ali Al Shamsi, said he needed more time to prepare his latest defence - prompting the court to reschedule the hearing to July 1.

Matthew was convicted of hitting Jane Matthew twice on the head with a hammer at their home in Umm Suqeim last year.

Jane's family said the conviction and sentence for the lesser charge was "deeply unfair". They believe the killing was premeditated murder.

Jane Matthew was killed by her husband on July 3, 2017. Courtesy Peter Manning, her brother
Jane Matthew was killed by her husband on July 3, 2017. Courtesy Peter Manning, her brother

Records show that at 5.45pm on July 4, Matthew called Dubai Police, telling them his wife had been assaulted by thieves after he left for work that morning.

He said he left home at 8am and returned around 5pm to find his wife murdered. He denied any involvement but later admitted to hitting her on the head twice with a hammer after an argument.

He said to told his wife he was facing financial difficulties due to bank loans and that they would need to relocate to a smaller apartment. He said his wife then provoked him by calling him a loser.

Matthew said that he was woken by his wife at 7am on the day of the incident and followed him into the kitchen. When he tried to avoid another argument she allegedly provoked him again and pushed him.

He said that, in a state of anger, he picked up a hammer from a kitchen shelf and followed his wife into the bedroom where he hit her twice on her forehead as she laying in bed. Records show that he panicked then decided to fake a robbery and ransacked his home before leaving for work.

Matthew was editor of Gulf News from 1995 to 2005 and was married to his wife for more than 30 years.

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Read more:

Former Gulf News editor appeals 10-year jail sentence for wife killing as her family protest at 'deeply unfair' decision

Former Gulf News editor Francis Matthew jailed 10 years for killing wife in Dubai

Prosecutors seek death penalty for Gulf News editor-at-large accused of murdering wife