Lovers' quarrel 'led to murder'

A driver tells a Dubai court that he did not intend to kill by strangulation Emma Angos Cambalon because he loved her.

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DUBAI // A man accused of strangling his girlfriend to death and dumping her naked body behind a shopping centre broke down and wept in court yesterday as prosecutors asked for the death penalty.  EG, a 36-year-old driver from the Philippines, told the presiding judge Hamad Abdel Latif at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance that he did not intend to kill Emma Angos Cambalon, because he loved her.

The victim's naked body was found outside a villa behind Al Bustan Centre in Al Tawar on March 26. Police were unable to identify her for four weeks, before a friend came forward to say who she was. Cambalon, a 35-year-old former Filipina housemaid, was the mother of a 17-year-old boy and three girls aged 15, 12 and eight. She lived in Dubai for six years, but had been an illegal resident since absconding from her employer in 2007, police said.

Having identified Cambalon, police placed the area where she lived under surveillance. EG was spotted leaving a house carrying a suitcase, and a search revealed that it was full of the dead woman's clothes. He was brought in for questioning and confessed, police said. Prosecutors say EG choked Cambalon to death with either a cloth or a nylon string while she sat in the passenger seat of his car.

"He said that the two had argued and he strangled her with his belt, then placed her in the car and dumped her after removing all identification," a CID lieutenant said. However, a forensic specialist from Dubai Police told prosecutors that the woman had been murdered inside the car and that there were no physical signs of an argument.  The specialist said that scratch marks on the victim's arms indicated that she struggled to fight her attacker while being choked. He said Cambalon died within minutes.

EG told the court that he and his girlfriend had a lovers' quarrel. He asked for a Tagalog translator to complete his evidence. The court will reconvene on September 27, when a Tagalog translator will be made available and a lawyer assigned to the accused. This article has been altered to clarify that certain aspects of the story were statements of fact that were originally attributed to comments made in court.