A British man who is serving a life sentence in Dubai for beating his girlfriend to death has met his son for the first time in 11 years.
Mark Arnold, 54, from Stoke-on-Trent, was found guilty of killing his girlfriend Kerry Winter, from the city of Johannesburg in South Africa, in Dubai in 2008 when she was aged 36.
Local media report his son, who is now 28 years old but has not been named in reports, had cut all contact with his dad after the conviction.
However, Dubai’s Punitive and Correctional Establishments contacted the son after 11 years to arrange a meeting with his father as a reward for the inmate helping write Tomorrow I Will Fly, a collection of stories and essays about the inmates in Dubai prison.
Maj Mohammed Al Obaidli, who is in charge of education and training in the prison, said that the son had got married a few months before the visit and had not even informed his father.
The Director of Dubai Women’s Prison, Jamila Al Zaabi, reportedly contacted the son and managed to convince him to travel to meet his father.
The meeting was reportedly part of a mission to “spread happiness among inmates” as part of Dubai Police’s “humanitarian initiatives”, according to the force’s director of punitive and correctional establishments Ali Mohammed Al Shamali.
Victim Winter’s body was never found and the Dubai Court of Appeals ruled in December 2010 that Arnold would serve life in prison or 25 years.
Arnold had reportedly made a confession before retracting them and maintaining his innocence throughout his trials and subsequent appeals, claiming his confessions had been made under threats.
Neighbours had told the court that they had seen him beat her with a baseball bat before dragging her into his car and driving away.
After his arrest, he said he and Ms Winter had argued about money but denied knowing what had happened to her.
He was working as an operations manager at interior design firm called Hamilton International when the murder happened.
Director of Reprieve Clive Stafford Smith said: “For a court to convict when there is no body, as happened to Mark Arnold, is always deeply concerning.
“Only last week a man in China was acquitted after serving 10 years in prison for murder when the ‘victim’ walked back into the village.”
He said the Brit man’s “confession” that he was forced to sign was in Arabic that had been used to obtain the conviction.
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