x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

UK widower stuck in Dubai seven months after new bride’s death plunge

Former professional motorcyclist has been in limbo for seven months since his wife died after falling from a hotel balcony on their honeymoon.

ABU DHABI // Thousands of people have signed an online petition urging the UK government to help former professional motorcycle rider Sean Emmett return home from Dubai after seven months in limbo.

Mr Emmett’s wife, Abbie Emmett, 27, fell to her death in February from the balcony of her hotel room at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel in Garhoud while the couple were on a 48-hour stopover after tying the knot in South Africa.

His passport has been taken away from him and he cannot leave the country, meaning he was unable to attend her funeral in the UK.

An online petition, which had been signed by more than 7,700 people by Thursday, is calling on the UK foreign and commonwealth office to help Mr Emmett, 43, return home to Addlestone, Surrey.

The e-petition states: “Sean Emmett, an ex-Superbike and MotoGP rider, is stranded in Dubai since the tragic loss of his newlywed wife, who fell to her death in February 2013.

“The UK Government needs to assist him to return to the UK and to reunite him with his family.

“They need to talk to the authorities in Dubai and organise his return to the UK immediately.

“Please sign this petition so that Sean can return home.”

The couple were married and had their honeymoon in Cape Town, South Africa before heading to Dubai.

It was reported that, after investigations by Dubai Police, Ms Emmett’s death was recorded as suicide and that there were no suspicious circumstances.

Mr Emmett, who has won 19 British Superbike events, was reported to be drunk when he went to a police station days after his wife’s death.

He admitted to drinking before going to Al Rashidiya police station on February 28 to sign for the release of his wife’s body after her death on February 19. He was fined Dh2,000 in April.

Dubai Misdemeanours Court was told that Mr Emmett had been “heavily drunk” and that he confessed to drinking beer, sambuca and brandy the night before. A blood test confirmed he had been drinking.

The Briton was arrested and released on bail four days later. The fine for drinking without a licence was issued in his absence.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the UK’s foreign and commonwealth office said: “We are aware of the case of a British national, Sean Emmett, in Dubai. We are providing consular assistance at this difficult time to the individual concerned and his family.”

The British consulate is assisting but its hands were tied, according to Mr Emmett.

“Because whilst the authorities over here just come back with ‘we’re still continuing our investigation’, any other country can’t really interfere with that process,” Mr Emmett is reported to have said, adding: “I said to them, ‘tell me what you’re investigating, I’m under no charge, under no bail, you’re just holding my passport and keep saying ‘we still have an investigation to do’.

“I’ve got three children that I want to see and they want to see their dad. It’s hugely frustrating.”

ecleland@thenational.ae