DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A British newspaper editor in Dubai was found guilty Sunday of bludgeoning his wife to death with a hammer and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Francis Matthew, the former editor of the English-language Gulf News, had faced the possibility of the death penalty in the July 2017 killing of Jane Matthew, his wife of over 30 years.
Neither Matthew nor his lawyer were present in the Dubai Court of First Instance for the verdict read by Judge Fahad al-Shamsi, which is common in courts in the United Arab Emirates. Matthew’s lawyer, Ali al-Shamsi, said he would appeal the sentence.
A brother of Matthew’s wife, who was in court for the verdict, expressed disappointment.
“Our family has been saddened by the sentence given to Francis Matthew, Jane’s killer. We believe the facts clearly demonstrate that this crime was a deliberate act,” Peter Manning told The Associated Press in a written statement.
Dubai police say they were called to Matthew’s three-bedroom villa in Dubai’s Jumeirah neighborhood on July 4. There, they say they found his wife of over 30 years dead, and the editor told them robbers had broken into the home and killed her.
During a later interrogation, however, police say Matthew told them his wife had grown angry with him because they were in debt and needed to move. Matthew said he got angry when his wife called him a “loser” and told him “you should provide financially,” according to police.
Matthew told police his wife pushed him during the argument. He then got a hammer, followed her into the bedroom and struck her twice in the head, killing her, according to a police report. The next morning, Matthew tried to make it look like the house had been robbed and later went to work like nothing had happened, throwing the hammer in a nearby trash can, police said.
Manning, the slain woman’s brother, said the sequence of events proved the killing was premeditated.
“In the defendant’s own version of events, he collected the murder weapon, a hammer, in the kitchen and carried it down two corridors of the house to the bedroom. There was time for him to consider his actions,” Manning said.
Gulf News previously has said Matthew served as its editor from 1995-2005 and then became an editor-at-large at the newspaper. He was still with the newspaper at the time of the killing, though the Gulf News now refers to him as a former employee.