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Thu 4 Sep 2008 12:48 PM

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Friend gives evidence in Dubai road rage case

Man tells court he yelled at friends to 'watch out', witnesses tell of seeing woman hit by Hummer.

A friend of the British woman killed in an alleged road rage attack told a Dubai criminal court on Thursday of the moments before she was struck.

Katherine Wood died after she was allegedly hit by a white Hummer vehicle while out celebrating her birthday in Garhoud on May 30.

The driver, an Emirati man aged in his 20's, has been charged with the premeditated murder of Mrs Wood, the attempted murder of her husband and damaging public and private property. The accused has denied all charges.

The male friend told the court he was part of the group which arrived at the Aviation Club in a taxi, with the vehicle blocking the road.

The Emirati, 22, is alleged to have blown his horn and flashed the vehicle’s full beam lights at the taxi.

After an angry exchange between Emirati, the taxi driver and himself, the friend told the court he saw the Hummer mount the curb at drive at himself, and Wood’s husband.

“I jumped to the side…I yelled to Kate and Jeff (husband) to watch out, Kate fell to the left…into the gutter where the accused backed over her,” he said under oath.

The Hummer then drove off, he said. Mrs Wood is believed to have died in an ambulance en route to Rashid Hospital.

When asked why he thought the reason for the Hummer driver’s actions, the friend said: “He was enraged that we were blocking the road. We took too long to pay and get out of the taxi. That’s the only reason I can think of.”

A witness to the accident also gave evidence during the court session, saying he saw the Hummer hit the taxi passengers, and then reverse back over Mrs Wood.

The case has been adjourned until September 18.

Aadil 11 years ago

If found guilty, I believe the accused should get the death penalty.

Graham Plater 11 years ago

To quote Amy Glass reporting on the court proceedings, "Katherine Wood died after she was allegedly hit by a white Hummer vehicle". Allegedly? Come on, it's bad (and mad) enough that the culprit is pleading not guilty without topping that by putting a question mark on the fact that she was ever hit by the car at all...

Sinan 11 years ago

The Death Penalty means nothing, a few minutes of agony. Prison sentence, community service, is what this person needs. Hard labor where he has to sit in a bus and go to community service, and report back to prison. He is twenty two - take his youth away. Do not play God by giving him the Death sentence!

Frank 11 years ago

It is standard practice for a newspaper/journalist to use the word "allegedly" when reporting on criminal proceedings. The suspect is being tried for a crime and is therefore innocent until proven otherwise. For a newspaper to categorically state that a suspect is guilty (before the court renders its verdict) opens up a minefield of legal isues, least of which is disrespect to the court.

Graham Plater 11 years ago

Sorry Frank - to use "allegedly hit" in this context is simply nonsensical. Standard procedure or not, an allegation is a statement lacking proof. Is anyone disputing that Katherine Wood was hit and killed? Had the reporter written "murdered by..." then your comment that AA is presumed innocent until proven otherwise would make more sense. In a country governed by rule of law the court's options in this case are not quite as broad as you imply and do not include a verdict of "not guilty". Here, unless it can be demonstrated that AA was not really at the wheel of his Hummer, the verdict can range from guilty of murder to guilty of manslaughter or unlawful killing and cover a range of punishments. But the fact that his actions caused her death is not debatable - or is it?

paul. 11 years ago

The 22 year old emirati should be jailed, named and shamed, the local youth have no respect for anything due to having everything given to them by their elders, he needs to be made an example of, IF they find him guilty.

Samer 11 years ago

An example must be made of the reckless Hummer driver. Road rage is something that the government should NOT go easy on. Road rage causes the same -if not more- deaths as traffic accidents here in the UAE. May the woman's soul rest in peace.

Frank 11 years ago

Graham, I think you answer your own question with the statement “an allegation is a statement lacking proof.” This is the purpose of the court case, to prove that the suspect did in fact kill the lady. If the evidence is as overwhelming as reported then the verdict could be as expected. A court can not jump straight to sentencing just on the say-so of witnesses. There is always the burden of proof. Otherwise it turns into a kangaroo court. You then state that the court’s option does not include “a verdict of not guilty.” I will treat that statement with the contempt it deserves. Whether the suspect killed the lady or not, is actually not the point here. The crux is the media’s responsibility in reporting these matters. Rather err on the side of caution and include the word “allegedly”, than open yourself up to possible future litigation. As in any country governed by law, the accused has rights, like pleading not guilty. And these rights must be respected by all involved, which includes the media.

Ken 11 years ago

I beleive the allegation in question is whether or not this man was the operator of the vehicle. As currently constructed it implies that the allegation is whether or not the women was killed by the vehicle.

Graham Plater 11 years ago

Thanks Ken - you get the point. Frank, I do not question the fact that it is the Court's privilege and duty to pass sentence on AA. Still, to claim that it is proper to assert that the victim was "allegedly hit" - in order to comply with standard reporting practice (and to avoid legal issues) - is to condone the sloppy use of English by the Press. I rest my case, and hope that AA gets what he deserves.