A British newspaper executive has confessed to killing his wife by throwing a hammer at her during a row, authorities in Dubai said yesterday.
Francis Matthew, editor-at-large of the Gulf News, called police last Tuesday, claiming his 62-year-old wife Jane had been attacked by burglars at their home in the Gulf state.
But Matthew, 60, later confessed to officers he had thrown a hammer at her but had not intended to kill her, an official statement said last night.
According to the government of Dubai media office’s official Twitter feed: ‘Gulf News editor-at-large Francis Matthew [has been] referred to Dubai Public Prosecution after confessing to killing his wife because of marital issues.
‘Dubai Public Prosecution [is] currently investigating the murder case and reviewing evidence, forensic reports and witness statements.
‘Dubai police received a call on Tuesday from the defendant claiming that his wife was assaulted by burglars at their house in Jumeirah, Dubai.
‘Initial reports showed that her death resulted from a strong blow on the head with a hard object, which raised suspicion about the husband.
‘The suspect confessed committing the murder to Dubai police. The suspect confessed during … interrogation that he assaulted his wife and threw a hammer at her without intending to kill her.
‘Dubai Public Prosecution has charged the husband with murder, investigations in the case are continuing.’
News of the killing has shocked staff at the influential English-language daily newspaper, where Matthew has worked for 22 years.
The couple were well-known members of Dubai’s large British expat community.
Dubai police said in a statement Matthew, pictured, initially claimed his wife was ‘attacked by burglars’
Matthew was a part of the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club while his London-born wife taught at an English language school.
They had lived in the country for 30 years and were based in Jumeirah, a wealthy suburb on the coast.
They married in Chippenham, Wiltshire, in 1985.
It is understood their son John travelled to Dubai to try to visit his father in custody at Bur Dubai Police Station yesterday.
Nirmala Janssen, who helped launch a newspaper called Xpress with Matthew three years ago, told the Mail: ‘Francis was amazingly devoted to his family, especially his son who recently left university.
‘He was over the moon for him. They were going to go off and see him graduate this week.
‘They were an extremely devoted couple… I have no idea what happened. Everybody is speculating.
‘Jane was a lovely woman. She was always nice, always very polite, and friendly. And Francis is a man who is loved by everybody.’
Abdul Hamid Ahmed, the editor-in-chief of the Gulf News, said: ‘We are shocked and saddened at this tragedy. Francis was editor of the paper from 1995 to 2005.
‘He is a well-respected journalist, known for his keen insight into the Middle East.
‘Both Francis and Jane have played a very active role in the British expatriate community over the past 30 years.’
Former Gulf News reporter Abhishek Bhaya said: ‘On those rare days when he was in the newsroom, he always came across as a likeable and very humble person.
He graduated from Exeter University in 1979 with a degree in Arabic and Islamic studies and worked at The Economist before travelling to the Gulf in 1990.