British former newspaper editor who killed wife with hammer in Dubai given extended sentence

Francis Matthew originally jailed for manslaughter after lawyers argued he never intended to kill his wife, but acted in a sudden fit of 'intense outrage'

Emma Snaith
Sunday 07 October 2018 17:13
Former editor of Gulf News has had his manslaughter conviction upgraded to premeditated murder
Former editor of Gulf News has had his manslaughter conviction upgraded to premeditated murder

A British former newspaper editor who was convicted of killing his wife with a hammer at their Dubai home has had his sentence extended to 15 years.

Francis Matthew was found guilty of bludgeoning his 62-year-old wife Jane Matthew to death and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in March.

The former editor of English-language publication Gulf News had previously faced the possibility of the death penalty over the incident.

The latest verdict was announced on Sunday when the Dubai Court of Appeal's ruling upgraded Mr Matthew's manslaughter conviction to premeditated murder.

Jane Matthew was beaten to death by her husband in July 2017

Peter Manning, Jane Matthew's brother, welcomed the ruling and said the previous sentence would have been a "terrible injustice".

"Jane is very much missed by her family and all her many friends and the previous low sentence was very upsetting for all of us," Mr Manning said in a statement.

Mr Matthew and his wife were were married for more than 30 years and were both prominent members of Dubai's British expatriate community.

Dubai police were called to Mr Matthew's three-bedroom villa in Dubai's Jumeirah neighborhood on 4 July, where they found his wife dead.

Initially Mr Matthew told police that burglars had broken into their home and killed his wife.

However, he later capitulated under interrogation, allegedly telling officers Mrs Matthew had grown angry with him because they were in debt and needed to move.

A report by Emirati investigators detailed how Mr Matthews fetched a hammer after his wife had pushed him, before following her into their bedroom and striking her twice in the head with blows that proved to be fatal.

The next morning Mr Matthew tried to make it look like the house had been robbed and went to work, police said.

The 61-year-old was originally charged with premediated murder, but his lawyers maintained that he never intended to kill Mrs Matthew and was instead acting in a sudden fit of "intense outrage".

The court later downgraded his charge to manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison in the United Arab Emirates.

Mr Matthew served as the editor of Gulf News between 1995 and 2005 and continued to write regularly for the newspaper after stepping down, while appearing as a commentator on television.

Additional reporting by PA

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