Francis and Jane Matthew

A senior editor at Dubai's leading English daily has confessed to throwing a hammer at his wife, killing her unintentionally, Dubai Police said on Monday. 

"During the prosecution's investigation, the defendant admitted to assaulting his wife, and throwing a hammer at her, saying he never meant to kill her," Dubai Police said in a statement, according to The National.

British citizen Francis Matthew, an editor-at-large for Gulf News, was detained yesterday after his wife's death. Police were initially contacted by Matthew, who first said thieves had attacked his wife, Jane. 

A staff member of the paper described Matthew as: "absolutely the last person I can think of who is a prototype who could kill his wife," according to The Independent.

Jane Matthew

"Closer examination revealed that the wife, also a British national, died due to a strong blow to the head ... revealing the possible involvement of the husband in the crime," the police said. 

"The accused confessed to committing the crime in the presence of police officers. He was accordingly referred to court and assigned an accredited legal translator." 

Matthew has been working as a journalist in the Gulf since the 1980s. He was formerly the editor of Gulf News from 1995 to 2005. After stepping down as editor, he continued to write regularly for the paper, including a weekly column and became a regular commentator on Gulf TV channels.

"They were an extremely devoted couple … I have no idea what happened. Everybody is speculating," Nirmala Janssen, who helped launch a newspaper called Xpress with Matthew, told the Daily Mail

"Jane was a lovely woman. She was always nice, always very polite, and friendly. And Francis is a man who is loved by everybody," she said.

Matthew was well-respected in the UAE, here he is pictured with Dubai's ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

"We are shocked and saddened at this tragedy," Abdul Hamid Ahmad, editor-in-chief of the English-language daily, said. 

"Gulf News’s thoughts and prayers are with the family. We request that the family be given the privacy they need to cope with their grief," he said.

Ahmad also referred to Matthew as a "well-respected journalist, known for his keen insight into the Middle East."

Matthew has been charged with murder and the investigation into the case continues.