DUBAI // A drunk Kenyan cook has been jailed for 10 years for drowning a colleague at a Jumeirah open beach.
What seemed like an accident because the deceased had high levels of alcohol in his system turned out to be premeditated murder after another colleague confided in a friend that he saw the 30-year-old defendant repeatedly push the man’s head under the water.
The incident happened on January 22, when the defendant was at the beach with two men, aged 25 and 30, and the victim, all of whom were from Kenya and worked at the same restaurant.
A medical report found that the victim had drank a lot of alcohol and that there were no signs of assault, so it looked like a straightforward drowning case.
But when an eyewitness, another cook and the owner of the restaurant where they all worked, started asking questions, the incident became suspicious.
Police investigations showed that the defendant and the deceased went for a swim and, shortly afterwards, the cook came back alone.
“When the others asked him about the victim, he said he didn’t know and took his belongings then left,” said a 28-year-old Emirati policeman.
Drowning was stated as the cause of death and the medical report said that he may have lost control while at sea.
However, when the other cook confided in a colleague that he saw the killer pushing the man’s head under water, he took action.
“After the man told me about what he saw, I told the restaurant owner that this was a murder,” said the other Kenyan cook, 26.
The 54-year-old Italian restaurant owner told prosecutors that he found out from his worker that the death was not normal the day after it happened.
“I told him [the 26-year-old cook] to make sure, so he started asking around and he was told that the victim was not alone at sea and that he was drowned deliberately by one of his friends, so we headed to the police station and reported the matter,” the restaurant owner said.
The defendant denied killing his compatriot, saying that he was playing with him when he pushed his head under water but that he did not kill him.
The two others present at the beach were charged with aiding and abetting for being aware of the crime and failing to alert authorities, while the main defendant was additionally charged with drinking alcohol without a licence.
One of the two co-accused appeared in court in June and denied aiding and abetting while the other failed to show up.
On Wednesday morning the killer was sentenced to 10 years in jail to be followed by deportation, while the other two were fined Dh1,000 each for failing to report the incident.