Frail stroke victim faces three years of prison in Dubai after his business went bust while he was ill
A pensioner fighting for life in a Dubai hospital bed is facing a three-year prison term because his business went bust while he lay critically ill.
Malcolm Munroe suffered a stroke three years ago and has been languishing in the hospital ever since, thousands of miles from his wife and sons.
And his family have now been told he is heading for the hefty prison term after his company crashed while he was sick in hospital.
Family say he will never be able to serve his sentence as he can only just move his head, is fed through a tube and is permanently connected to an oxygen tank.
The father-of-three, originally from Chorlton, has not seen his wife and sons for two years.
But family say anyone linked to his company risks arrest if they set foot in Dubai.
Malcolm’s sister, Diane Kirkwood, has appealed to MPs, the Foreign Office, the UK Embassy in Dubai and even Prince Charles in a bid to help her brother.
Friends in Dubai have managed to raise thousands of pounds for a private helicopter to fly Malcolm back to the UK.
But family say the Dubai authorities must agree to release him before he can be brought back home to Manchester.
“It is heartbreaking for his wife, sons and us. We cannot go to visit him, we have to wait until somebody he knew in Dubai goes to see him then lets us know how he is and one persons sends a photograph of him each week just lying in hospital,” said Diane.
“He turned 70 last November and we wonder how much longer he can survive. His sons would dearly love to see their dad.”
Malcolm moved to Dubai in the 1980s for work and eventually set up his own construction company employing hundreds of men.
While there he married his Ukrainian wife Olga and the couple have two sons, Alexandre, 16, and Paul, 14.
When Olga was diagnosed with leukaemia the family moved to Eccles so she could undergo treatment at The Christie, which was successful.
The boys were visiting Malcolm in Dubai when he suffered a massive stroke just three days before Christmas 2013.
They were cared for by Diane and her husband in the UK while Olga kept a vigil by her husband’s bedside at Rashid Hospital, in Dubai.
Malcolm was placed in an induced coma and suffered nine more bleeds to the brain, almost dying on two occasions.
While in hospital Diane says the Dubai government closed Malcolm’s company and several creditors came forward to bring cases against him.
The case went to court over debts owed and he was handed a three-year prison sentence.
Diane wrote a mercy letter to the judge begging him to send her brother home, but she never received a reply.
When Diane and her husband asked the Foreign Office for advice about visiting Malcolm, officials said they could not guarantee they would be able to pass through UAE passport control without being stopped.
She said: “Anybody connected with the company will be asked to pay the debts owed when they enter the country. We wanted to visit for his 70th birthday but we were worried we would be stopped. We are worried we wouldn’t get any further than the airport.
“The last time we saw him was October 2013 when he came to us here and said how peaceful it was. We tried to persuade him to stay for Christmas but said ‘I have to go back for the men’. He could be flown back here but the decision has to come from Dubai - they have to release him.”
Bedridden Malcolm is now conscious but has very limited movement and cannot speak.
His family rely on a friend in Dubai, who visits Malcolm to send pictures.
The avid Manchester United fan, who ‘lived and breathed’ football, was pictured with a football top draped across his hospital bed on his 70th birthday.
Diane said: “He moves his head from side to side and blinks, that’s it. Our friend says sometimes a tear will trickle down his face when he shows him pictures of the boys or Olga.
“You close your eyes and just picture him lying there with no family there to see him.”
Diane said the family are desperate to bring Malcolm back home to the UK where they believe he will be able to undergo rehabilitation and physiotherapy at Salford Royal.