x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Shock over stabbing of woman in Ibn Battuta car park

A woman whose body was found at one of the city's busiest malls had been stabbed several times after leaving a gym.

DUBAI // A woman whose body was found at one of the city's busiest malls had been stabbed several times after leaving a gym. Police were yesterday piecing together her last movements, while those who frequent the popular shopping centre said they were shocked a violent crime could happen in such a public place.

The 40-year-old woman, from Mauritius, had been due to meet a friend at Ibn Battuta Mall on Friday. After she failed to turn up, a search of the car park later in the day found her body next to a car. The deputy head of Dubai Police, Khamis Muttar al Mazeina, said: "The victim set up a meeting with a friend of hers but when her friend couldn't find her she called the victim's husband and they went looking for her."

The friend, an American woman of French origin who was visiting from abroad, and the husband, a Dutchman, conducted a thorough search of the mall before they found her body. She was still dressed in gym clothes. Police say the killing took place at around 2.15pm on Friday. They said they were questioning one person and had reached a breakthrough, but would not elaborate. At the Fitness First Gym at Ibn Battuta Mall, a member of staff confirmed that the woman had been working out there on the day she died.

Shoppers at the mall said they were shocked to hear of the killing. "It's worrying - if you think too much about that sort of thing you just freak out," said Tamara King, 20, from Georgia. Her friend, Melanie Oliveria, 17, a resident, said she had heard of very few violent crimes here. "Generally, this is a very safe country compared to most places in the world." Mandy White, 52, from the UK, agreed that violent crime here was rare.

"You feel much safer walking around here than in the UK," she said. "It feels like a very safe place." Meanwhile, police yesterday confirmed they had charged the boyfriend of a 30-year-old Myanmarese woman with murder. Her body was found in a manhole metres from her home in Al Nahda last Sunday. "This was a case involving a woman and her lover. It was a case of indecency," said Lt Gen Dahi Khalfan, the chief of Dubai Police.

The victim, Han Han Soe, was married with a daughter. Her husband lives in Malaysia and her six-year-old daughter is in Myanmar. Police say her boyfriend, an Indian man in his 20s, strangled her and disposed of her body in the manhole. Also this past week, a Nepalese man was killed in the Jaffliya area of Dubai. Police said a Sri Lankan man has been charged. gmcclenaghan@thenational.ae rabubaker@the national.ae