City woman murdered in botched gold theft

AN Edinburgh woman was stabbed to death in Dubai after a plan to drug and rob her went wrong, a court has been told.

Hotel worker Maria McClymont, 50, who moved to the Middle East 20 years ago, was knifed through the heart by a young Syrian man whom she had befriended.

The Dubai Court of First Instance heard that the killer, aged in his 20s, then went on to steal her gold jewellery while her body was left lying in a pool of her own blood in her flat.

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The killer, who has not been named in court, said he had met Ms McClymont a few months before in a bar.

The pair struck up a relationship after, he claimed, one of his friends suggested he exploit the mother-of-three for money.

The defendant said in a statement: "I met her at a nightclub. We became friends and I used to visit her at her apartment. My friend suggested I deceive her and use her for money."

Friends of the victim told police the pair were in a romantic relationship and that Ms McClymont, who moved to the United Arab Emirates from Saudi Arabia in 2009 and was human resources manager at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, had been trying to find the defendant a job.

He added: "My friend urged me to put a sleeping drug in her drink and rob her. I agreed because I was short of cash, so I went to her apartment and I asked her for my passport because I kept it with her.

"She refused to give it to me and said that she loved me and wanted to marry me.

"We fought and I knocked her to the ground. I was afraid that police would be called so I grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her in the heart."

The defendant told the police he took her jewellery and gave it to his friend who sold it.

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He gave his statement to police in Syria, where he fled on the day of the murder. He is awaiting extradition and is being tried in absentia.

He said: "I regret what I did and I did not intend to kill her. What happened is a result of my anger and recklessness."

His friend is also on trial, charged with inciting murder, along with two other men, who are accused of possessing stolen goods. They deny the charges.

Ms McClymont's body was found by police in May last year at her fourth-floor flat.

Her sister Sheena Aitken, of Dalkeith, raised the alarm when she failed to answer her calls and text messages.

She said at the time: "My sister was the kindest person you'd ever meet. She'd been trying to help this man find a job.

"But all the time he was thinking about her money. He has ruined our lives. Things will never be the same again."

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