British newspaper editor who killed wife with hammer has jail term halved in Dubai

Victim's brother accused Dubai's laws of being 'male-biased'

Zoe Tidman
Wednesday 27 November 2019 17:52 GMT
Francis Matthew, Gulf News editor-at-large, has been arrested over his wife's death
Francis Matthew, Gulf News editor-at-large, has been arrested over his wife's death

A British journalist who killed his wife in Dubai has had his prison sentence cut by almost half.

Francis Matthew has been given a reduced seven-year sentence for manslaughter by Dubai's Court of Appeal for killing his wife Jane Matthew with a hammer at their home in 2017.

The court had previously upgraded his manslaughter conviction to premeditated murder last year and handed him 15 years in prison.

His charge has returned to manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years under UAE law.

The court ruled Matthew, the former editor of English-language publication Gulf News, will also be deported after being freed.

Matthew's lawyer Ali al-Shamsi had previously asked the court to reduce his client's sentence to two years in prison, saying evidence proves the crime was not premeditated and Matthew had no previous intent to kill.

Jane's brother, Peter Manning, accused Dubai's laws of being "male-biased" and said his sister's voice was never going to be heard.

"Dubai judges clearly preferred to defend Francis's pride rather than Jane's life," Mr Manning said after the new sentencing.

Police found Matthew's wife of 30 years dead after being called to a three-bedroom home in Dubai's Jumeirah neighbourhood on 4 July 2017.

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

However, he later told officers his wife had grown angry with him because they were in debt and needed to move.

A report by Emirati investigators detailed how Matthew fetched a hammer after his wife had pushed him, followed her into their bedroom and hit her twice over the head.

Police said Matthew tried to make it look like the house had been robbed the next morning and then went to work, throwing the hammer in a nearby trash can.

His charge, originally premeditated murder, has changed several times during a series of appeals.

He had previously faced the possibility of the death penalty over the incident.​

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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