Briton gets 15yrs for SA woman's murder

2010-06-07 12:46

Dubai - A Dubai court sentenced a Briton to 15 years in prison on Monday for killing his South African ex-lover, rejecting defence arguments that the woman had faked her death, her family's lawyer said.

Dubai's Criminal Court of First Instance "found the defendant, Mark Arnold, guilty of first degree homicide and (he) was sentenced to serve a custodial term of 15 years followed by deportation," the lawyer for victim Kerry Winter's family, Hussain al-Jaziri, said in a statement.

The defence is to appeal against the verdict, the prosecution against the sentence, Jaziri said.

As Winter's corpse was never found, Arnold's lawyer reportedly told the court she had faked her own death to punish her former partner for ending their relationship, dismissing the alleged act as "just a woman's revenge".

In April, her family issued a statement rejecting the defence claims as "fictitious information and baseless allegations".

Winter, 36, disappeared in August 2008 following a quarrel with Arnold, 42. Prosecutors charged him with clubbing her to death with a baseball bat and dumping her body in the sea with weights attached.

Arnold's lawyer had said that a policeman spoke to Winter on her mobile phone three hours after an argument between the two and claimed she said she was fine.

Earlier reports said Arnold told investigators he had argued with Winter and hit her on the head with a wooden stick until she bled and fell to the ground.

Arnold has been in custody since August 2008 and received a one-month jail sentence for endangering the life of a Lebanese housemate of Winter by swinging a baseball bat at him when he was alerted to the argument between the two outside her villa.

Murder is a capital offence in the United Arab Emirates but the death sentence is rarely carried out.