Winter case accused claims innocence

DUBAI — The Court of Appeal is expected to hand down a verdict in the premeditated murder case of South African Kerry Winter on December 19 after it listened to the defence lawyer’s closing arguments.

By Marry Nammour

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Published: Tue 30 Nov 2010, 12:12 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:13 PM

In Sunday’s session, Winter’s ex-boyfriend, accused of killing her and dumping her body in the sea, argued in court that he was innocent and it was time he would be released after more than two years in provisional detention which caused him family problems and cost him his business and reputation.

He claimed that the statements he had given during the investigation were taken by coercion and there were no evidence to incriminate him.

The Public Prosecution says in its arraignment sheet that the defendant admitted during interrogation to beating Winter, whom he knew for five years, with a baseball bat on her head in her villa in Barsha. After he found she was dead he disposed the body in the sea off Mina Al Siyahi using his yacht, blanket and weights.

The accused also said that if he was guilty he would not have come back to Dubai after Winter’s disappearance. “I flew with my fiancée to the UK after my dispute with Winter. Why would I come back if I am afraid of anything?” He told the court. He was detained on August 25, 2008, at the Dubai International Airport upon his arrival from the UK. He has maintained a no guilty plea in the trial stressing that he left the victim alive that night.

Defence counsel Youssef Al Hammad stressed his client left Winter alive on August 20, 2008, the night she was last seen.

“The preliminary verdict was given based on the theory that Winter was dead after she was beaten in the villa. It did not take into consideration the police officers’ statements that she did talk to them on the phone after a complaint was filed that night,” Hammad argued. He also argued that his client neither killed nor assaulted Winter on the night she disappeared.

“The Public Prosecution could only rely on the contradictory statements of witnesses - the victim’s villa mates - who alleged having seen him attacking her with a baseball bat.

However, my client maintained that he did not hit her but she rather fell down and hurt herself. We have witnesses who confirm that Winter was fine after the incident and she spoke on the phone with them and told them that she was taking few days off in Abu Dhabi”. Earlier, Hussein Al Jaziri, Winter’s family advocate submitted a plea to inflict the punishment (capital punishment) according to Sharia law on the accused.

He was sentenced by the Court of First Instance to 15-year imprisonment on June 7 for the premeditated murder of Winter, 37. The court also ordered that Arnold be deported after serving his term.

Winter went missing since August 20, 2008 and her body was not found. The Public Prosecution presented series of evidence including DNA of blood sample lifted from the back seat of the victim’s car which matched with the DNA taken from her toothbrush. In addition, testimonies of witnesses were also part of the evidence.

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