A British journalist has been jailed for 10 years for beating his wife to death with a hammer at their Dubai home.
Francis Matthew was sentenced in absence at the Dubai Court of the First Instance on Sunday after being found guilty of killing his 62-year-old wife Jane Matthew in July last year.
The former editor of English-language publication Gulf News had faced the possibility of the death penalty over the incident.
Matthew initially told police that burglars had broken into the couple’s three-bedroom villa in the upmarket Jumeriah neighbourhood and killed his wife of 30 years.
However, he later capitulated under interrogation, allegedly telling officers Mrs Matthew had grown angry with him because they were in debt and needed to move.
The journalist then lost his temper after she called him a “loser” and told him “you should provide financially”, police said.
A report by Emirati investigators detailed how Matthew fetched a hammer after his wife had pushed him, following her into their bedroom and striking her twice in the head with blows that proved to be fatal.
The 61-year-old had faced a charge of premeditated murder, but his lawyers maintained he never intended to kill Mrs Matthew and was instead acting in a sudden fit of “intense outrage”.
It is not clear from trial judge Fahad al-Shamsi’s verdict whether or not the court accepted this defence.
A statement released by Mrs Matthew’s family following the sentencing said relatives believed “justice has not yet been done”, announcing their intention to appeal the ruling.
“Jane was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister and aunt,” the statement said: “Losing her in such a brutal manner has left the family both bewildered and shocked.
“We attended the Dubai Courts today, and our family has been saddened by the sentence given to Francis Matthew, Jane’s killer.
“We feel that justice has not yet been done as we realise that the actual sentence served may be less than the 10-year sentence. We hope that this sentence is changed on appeal.”
Matthew served at the editor of Gulf News between 1995 and 2005 and had continued to write regularly for the daily after stepping down, contributing a weekly column, while also appearing as a commentator on television.
The Matthews had married in Chippenham, Wiltshire in 1985.