Ex denies killing Kerry Winter

2009-04-09 13:02

Dubai - A Briton denied in a Dubai court on Thursday beating his South African ex-girlfriend to death with a baseball bat, wrapping her body in a blanket, attaching weights and dumping it in the sea.

Mark Arnold, 42, whose trial opened on Thursday in the Gulf emirate, is accused of the premeditated murder of Kerry Winter, 36, last August after "hitting her on the head with a baseball bat, and drowning her body in the sea after making sure that she was dead," according to a list of charges read in court.

He had "prepared a baseball bat to hit her... and wrapped her body in a blanket with some weights and drowned it," the charge sheet said.

Winter's body has never been found.

"No. Not guilty," responded Arnold, who stood in the dock in white prison pyjamas.

He has been in custody since August and has received a one-month jail sentence over endangering the life of a Lebanese housemate of Kerry by swinging a baseball bat at him when he was alerted to the argument between the two.

Adjourned

The court decided to keep Arnold in custody and adjourned the hearing to April 23, as defence demanded time to study the case.

The judge also granted a lawyer for Winter's family the right to look into the file of the misdemeanour court case regarding the assault of the housemate as it happened on the night Winter disappeared.

Local daily 7Days had reported on Tuesday that the housemate had told court he "found Arnold standing over her (Winter's) motionless body".

Dubai prosecution said in March that Arnold confessed to assaulting Winter on August 20 and dumping her body in the sea.

But Arnold told 7Days from prison that he had left Winter alive at the side of the road after a "big argument".

"Heaven knows what happened to her after that ... She was someone I had loved very, very much. I had no reason to kill her," he was quoted as saying.

Arnold has lived in Dubai for six years where he is an operations manager for an interior design firm, and had dated Winter for five years, according to press reports.

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

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