UK Editor Who Murdered Wife With Hammer Claims Accident

Story By: Alex Cope, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News

The British editor jailed for the premeditated murder of his wife has appealed for his sentence to be reduced to just two years after claiming hitting her on the head with a hammer was an accident.

Francis Matthew, the former editor of Gulf News, a daily English language newspaper published from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, was jailed for 15 years for the premeditated murder of his wife but the Court of Cassation then said the case has to be reviewed by a panel of judges.

Picture Credit: CEN/FrancisMatthew

After initially being handed a 10-year jail sentence in March 2018 when he was found guilty of physically assaulting his wife Jane, 62, with a hammer in an attack which led to her death, his sentence was increased in October 2018 to 15 years when the Dubai Court of Appeal found him guilty of premeditated murder.

He has reportedly told a court that she had provoked the attack by calling him a “loser”. Matthew allegedly hit his wife of more than 30 years with the hammer on the head.

However, Dubai’s Court of Cassation, the highest judicial body in the emirate, overturned that decision in December 2018 and ordered that his case be reviewed by a panel of judges.

His lawyer, Ali Al Shamsi, is arguing that his sentence should be reduced to two years, claiming there was no “criminal intention” in the case. Al Shamsi told the court that Matthew and his wife had a “good relationship” claiming the fact he bought tickets for the pair to go to their son’s graduation in the United Kingdom showed this relationship.

The lawyer said his client “regrets what he did” and asked for leniency.

Picture Credit: CEN

In the UAE, the family of the victim are given the right to reject leniency. However, the victim’s son has waived this right and her father, who is the only person who could have rejected early release, has died.

As Matthew has already served two years he would be likely be allowed to leave prison if his sentence is reduced. A verdict is expected on 27th November.

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Alex Cope

I am a senior writer and editor of the Golders news agency specialising in sports news from around the world.