Killer beat man to death before going shopping

Hours after bludgeoning a Dubai resident to death, an Egyptian man went on a shopping spree and to the cinema, a court hears.

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Hours after bludgeoning a Dubai resident to death, an Egyptian man went on a shopping spree and took in a movie at the cinema he paid for with his victim's credit card, the Dubai Court of First Instance heard yesterday. According to a prosecutor's report, AH, 52, struck Hani Hasanain el Hanafi, 33, twice on the head on March 9.

He is accused of then stealing Mr el Hanafi's mobile phone, credit card and car keys and going on a shopping spree. AH claimed he killed Mr el Hanafi in self-defence, but denied taking his belongings, officials said. Prosecutors say AH bought Dh11,946 (US$3,250) worth of gold necklaces at Pure Gold and Damas, and a Dh1,375 Nokia 5800 mobile phone from Carrefour at the Deira City Centre shopping mall. He also ate at several restaurants, including Coco's, bought underpants and watched a film at Deira City Centre.

In dramatic scenes in court yesterday, Mr el Hanafi's mother wept while his brothers shouted at AH and attempted to strike him, forcing police officers to step in. The judge ordered the family to contain themselves or face removal from the courtroom. After calm had been restored, the defendant addressed the court. "If I didn't kill him, he would have killed me," he said. Mr el Hanafi "had invited me over to his apartment, and when I went there he started insulting me and slapped me in the face, so I slapped him back.

"He then began hitting me over and over again. To defend myself I grabbed a brass object from the table and hit him in the head with it. I didn't mean to kill him." According to a statement from Mr el Hanafi's brother, they had last spoken on the telephone on the day of the killing. After trying to reach him over the next three days, he flew to Dubai. "I came to my brother's apartment and used a key I had to enter," Hisham el Hanafi told prosecutors. "When I went in, I found a bloody scene and the apartment in shambles," he said.

"In the living room, my brother was laying face down, dead, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and black shoes." He said his brother had Dh10,000 to Dh15,000 in the apartment that day, money he had withdrawn from the bank and was planning to use to upgrade the satellite television store he owned. He believed the defendant knew about the money and came with the intention of killing Mr el Hanafi and robbing him. According to a police investigator, officials received a report that a body had been found in an apartment in the Al Baraha district near Deira on March 13.

Upon arriving, they found the decomposing body of Mr el Hanafi with obvious head injuries. Investigators then learnt that his credit card had been used after his death at several nearby shops. After contacting the shops and reviewing security camera footage, investigators were able to determine the suspect's appearance. A man matching that description was seen on March 13 near the Jesco Market and immediately arrested. Upon searching AH's apartment, officers found the gold he is accused of purchasing, Mr el Hanafi's mobile phone and his credit card.

According to the investigator, AH admitted to using the victim's credit card. The judge has scheduled the next hearing for August 4.