In a piece published on the BBC, the case of a British citizen who disappeared in Malta in 2016 and has not been found yet was once again brought to the public’s attention. One year later, his wife is convinced he’s still alive, and plans to take her search into overdrive.
Tom Stewart, a 60-year-old-man from Luton, retired to Malta (which the couple had visited on their honeymoon) with his wife Phyllis in late 2015. They never had any marital difficulties, but after some problems which arose while building their flat, Tom had trouble sleeping and was given pills for anxiety which he allegedly wasn’t taking.
In May 2016, under the advice of a doctor, Tom had voluntarily entered Mount Carmel Hospital. “He kept asking to go for a walk in the hospital’s garden,” said his wife Phyllis. Two days after entering the hospital, Tom turned to her and reportedly said, “This isn’t helping me. I can’t be here.” Moments later, he climbed an orange tree to jump over the hospital’s eight foot high wall, and escaped. He had no money, phone, passport or even medication for his Type 2 diabetes.
Even though Malta is a very small island and most people who are reported missing are very quickly found, there have only been two possible sighting of Tom in the last year. One of the couple’s neighbours had said he spoke to Tom at a bus stop a couple of days after his reported disappearance, while a member of the public had claimed he spotted the Briton in a supermarket. A year down the line, however, there have been no further updates on his possible whereabouts.
“Things were getting on top of him,” Phyllis had said of Tom’ in 2016. “We had problems with the building work on our flat, and then I fell over and broke my shoulder in two places.” She went on to say that even though the staff at Mount Carmel Hospital had described Tom as depressed, she did not agree with them. “He went to the hospital voluntarily. He needed help, but he wasn’t depressed.”
Tom worked in a warehouse in Luton with a large group of Bulgarian people for a number of years and got on very well with them. “There’s a big Bulgarian community here and I think he might be with them.” A number of family and friends have over the last year come down to Malta to help Phyllis with her search, to no avail.
In an interview with the Independent earlier this year, Police Inspector Joseph Busuttil from the Vice Squad called the case “one of the most mysterious cases” the police has ever had. The same interview had also explained how 260 people have been missing since the 1970s, with only six of them being Maltese.
Phyllis has since then been on local television stations, newspaper articles and has even set up a Facebook page trying to get more information on Tom. “I’ve spoken to walking groups and asked that they keep an eye out for him,” she told the BBC earlier this week. “I’m offering a reward of €1,000 to anyone who can find him.”
She explained how, for summer 2017, she intends to target specific towns to see if she can track down her husband. In the meantime, she’s volunteering in the children’s section of a library.