A British newspaper editor in Dubai was found guilty today of bludgeoning his wife to death with a hammer and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Francis Matthew was not present in the Dubai Court of the First Instance for the verdict read by Judge Fahad al-Shamsi, which is common in courts in the United Arab Emirates. The former editor of the English-language Gulf News had faced the possibility of the death penalty in the July 2017 killing. A brother of Matthew’s wife, the late 62-year-old Jane Matthew, was in court for the verdict, but declined to immediately talk to journalists. Matthew’s lawyer could not be immediately reached. Matthew can appeal his sentence. On July 4, Dubai police say they were called to Matthew’s three-bedroom villa in Dubai’s Jumeirah neighborhood. There, they say they found his wife of over 30 years dead, and the editor told them robbers had broken into the home and killed her.
During a later interrogation, however, police say Matthew told them his wife had grown angry with him because they were in debt and needed to move. Matthew said he got angry when his wife called him a “loser” and told him “you should provide financially,” according to police. Matthew told police his wife pushed him during the argument. He then got a hammer, followed her into the bedroom and struck her twice in the head, killing her, according to a police report.
The next morning, Matthew tried to make it look like the house had been robbed and later went to work like nothing had happened, throwing the hammer in a nearby trash can, police said. Gulf News previously has said Matthew served as its editor from 1995-2005 and then became an editor-at-large at the newspaper. He was still with the newspaper at the time of the killing, though the Gulf News now refers to him as a former employee.