Emo­tional scene dur­ing mur­der trial


Gulf News - - Nation - BY BAS­SAM ZA’ZA’ Le­gal and Court Cor­re­spon­dent

The fam­ily of a Bri­tish jour­nal­ist, who is ac­cused of pre­med­i­tat­edly killing his wife in July, tes­ti­fied in court that the cou­ple had pre­ar­ranged plans for fam­ily com­mit­ments in Lon­don last sum­mer.

The 61-year-old Bri­tish jour­nal­ist and his 63-yearold wife had paid for flight book­ings and pre­ar­ranged for fam­ily com­mit­ments for July 2017 (month when the wife was mur­dered) and were sched­uled to at­tend their only son’s col­lege grad­u­a­tion and the fa­ther-in-law’s 90th birth­day, tes­ti­fied the sus­pect’s son, brother and sis­ter be­fore the Dubai Court of First In­stance yes­ter­day.

In dra­matic, emo­tional and un­prece­dented scenes wit­nessed in­side a court­room, pre­sid­ing judge Fahd Al Shamsi al­lowed the sus­pect, Fran­cis Matthew, to come out of the dock for a few min­utes and al­lowed him to hug and kiss his son, brother and sis­ter.

It was such a touch­ing scene that sev­eral peo­ple were seen cry­ing when the sus­pect hugged and kissed his only 22-year-old son. Matthew, a for­mer Gulf

News staff mem­ber, pleaded not guilty to the charges of in­ten­tion­ally killing his wife by hit­ting her twice on the fore­head with a ham­mer.

Hav­ing flown in from Lon­don to tes­tify in court, the 22-year-old told pre­sid­ing judge Al Shamsi that he had never seen his par­ents fight­ing. The son also tes­ti­fied that he was just about to grad­u­ate [a few days af­ter the mur­der date] and his par­ents were sched­uled to at­tend his grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony in July 2017 and other fam­ily plans.

“He had paid for the tick­ets and they were pre­pared to fly,” the son said.

In re­sponse to the pre­sid­ing judge’s ques­tion on whether the sus­pect had pur­chased the tick­ets, Matthew’s 55-year-old brother said: “Yes he had bought the tick­ets. When I heard what had hap­pened, it was un­like my brother and not his char­ac­ter.”

The wit­nesses fur­ther tes­ti­fied that the cou­ple had lived for more than 33 years to­gether in what they de­scribed in a mar­riage life based on love and re­spect.

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