Respected British expat journalist held in Dubai on suspicion of killing his wife

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A British newspaper executive is being quizzed by police in Dubai on suspicion of killing his wife.

Expat Francis Matthew, 60, editor-at-large of the Gulf News, has been in custody since last Wednesday. Matthew’s 62-year-old wife Jane was found dead at their home in the Arab state last Tuesday. Their son John was believed to have travelled to Dubai to try to visit his father in custody today.

Staff at the influential English-language daily newspaper – where Matthew has worked for 22 years – have been told their boss’s wife was killed.

Last night Abdul Hamid Ahmad, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, confirmed Matthew had been arrested on suspicion of killing his wife. He said: ‘His wife is dead, and she has been killed, at their home. Francis Matthew unfortunately is still in custody with the police.

‘Further than that, we have no idea exactly what is happening, and are trying to see him to get the right things from him directly. He is still being questioned by the police. I am trying, and my managers are trying, to get permission to see him tomorrow.’

He said that the arrest of public school-educated Matthew had come as a huge shock to the newspaper’s staff.

‘Francis has worked here for more than 20 years and I have worked closely with him,’ he said. ‘He is a very respected man, talented and hard-working. He loves his work, loves his family, and is very committed and loyal.

‘He is respected by all his colleagues here, who are shocked by the news. He is loved by everybody in Gulf News.

‘He has many contacts and is very well-known here.’

Mr Ahmad said he had met Mrs Matthew occasionally and they were ‘a very happy couple, and she a very nice lady’.

He said Matthew’s brother had also flown out from his London home, where a family friend said yesterday he did not wish to comment. Mrs Matthew’s brother, who lives in Scotland, also declined to comment.

The death penalty is legal in Dubai, although it is rarely carried out.

There was no official statement from police or prosecutors yesterday, but sources in the Gulf state told the Mail that Matthew had called police to the couple’s home where officers discovered his wife’s body. It is understood he was found not to be under the influence of alcohol.

Matthew went to £38,000-a-year Winchester College, in Hampshire. He studied Arabic and Islamic studies at Exeter University, graduating in 1979, and worked at The Economist before heading to the Gulf in 1990. He helped launch a newspaper called Xpress three years ago.

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