Dire straits: The woman breaks down at the XPRESS office while telling her story Image Credit: Abhishek Sengupta/XPRESS

Dubai: A British-Canadian woman who once led the high-life of Dubai but is now sleeping rough on the streets, is desperate for help.

“I have no friends, no family, no money and nowhere to go sleep,” said the distressed 54-year-old who worked as a development director for some of the top realty projects in the city.

Things wouldn’t have come to this pass, she claims, had she not been arrested last year. “A case was filed in my name saying I hadn’t paid rents of my villa on Jumeirah Road. In reality, I had paid Dh120,000 via two cheques and it took me seven months while in jail to get the bank to establish that for me. The court cleared my name eventually, but my life had taken a massive hit by then,” she said.

“During that time, I was also told I had civil cases against my name and I spent all I had in getting my name cleared. Today I may be free, but I have no means to go anywhere,” she adds.

In her own words, her fall has been as dramatic as her rise. In her prime she drove a BMW Z4 and lived in a five-bedroom Palm Jumeirah villa, earning up to Dh100,000 per month. Maids were by her side at all times as pet dogs — two Arabian Salukis — played by her side.

Today she is barely able to make ends meet. “My passport is with the hotel where I last stayed. They have also kept my bags and belongings because I couldn’t pay the Dh7,000 dues I racked up during my stay. Please help me get out of this mess. I am completely broke and I don’t know what to do,” said the woman who has a PhD in civil engineering and real estate planning. “Fate’s playing amazing games with me. People want me to work for them, but for free,” she said.

The woman said she had converted to Islam and married an Emirati man. However, the marriage fell apart over a year ago, she claimed.

Her pleas for help have fallen on deaf ears at both the British and Canadian consulates, she added.

Today she needs Dh25,000 to clear liabilities and return to her home country. “I want to find my feet when I get back to Vancouver. I plan to stay there and write a book. My life hasn’t been short of a story,” she said.

Brenda, a hair dresser who had done her make up at a promotional photo shoot said the woman’s life is a far cry from her glory days. “When I met her first over four years ago she was a completely different woman. She wore designer labels and drove a fancy car,” recalled Brenda.


— The woman’s name has been witheld on her request


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