By Bejay Browne
A PAPHOS pub owner is being hailed a hero after he apprehended a suspected rapist who had broken into his pub early on Saturday.
Gary Skipp, 50, confronted and tackled the suspect inside the Queen Vic pub in Paphos, which led to the 39 year old Romanian’s arrest.
Paphos police spokesman Nikos Tsappis said: “Gary did a good job and is a hero. The suspect was wanted by police in connection with the rape of an elderly expat and burglary; he has admitted the charges.”
He continued: “Although Gary was very brave, I wouldn’t advise members of the public to confront people in these conditions and to be careful and call the police quickly.”
The pub owner lives in an apartment at the top of the building with his wife Tina, whilst his son, Eddie, lives in a separate apartment directly above the pub. The Queen Vic is just off the Tomb of the Kings road, in the hub of the Paphos tourist area.
Skipp told the Cyprus Mail: “My son rang me at 4.30am on Saturday morning to say that he could hear someone moving around in the pub. It took me a while to understand what he was saying. I was feeling a bit fuzzy as we had been celebrating with family the night before.”
In only his dressing gown and standing 6ft tall, the 17 stone pub owner made his way to the rear of the pub where he could see inside through a frosted window. He sent his son to the front of the property, outside.
He said that he could see a figure inside the venue using his mobile phone as a torch.
“I entered through the back door and he threw the cash till at me, which hit and damaged my hand. He tried to make a run for it to escape, and ran towards the front where he had entered through the roller blinds. I gave chase and as he slowed down to try and climb through I grabbed him and put him in a head lock.”
A fight ensued and Skipp managed to wrestle the perpetrator to the ground.
The pub owner said that the Romanian bit him four times, quite badly on his left arm, and he retaliated by biting him on his ear and the back of his head to try to stop him.
“I’m quite a big bloke, and was on top of him, but he managed to lift me up three times. But my son, who was calling the police, managed to kick his legs away.”
Skipp said after much struggling, in which the Romanian’s nose was smashed on the floor, he finally gave up and submitted.
“He was very strong and I don’t know if that was because he was on drugs at the time. When the police arrived they were very thankful when they saw him and said that they had been looking for him for months, as he was suspected of raping an elderly ex pat resident. I couldn’t believe it.”
The police took the pair’s statements, and as Skipp was covered in blood they took him to the general hospital for a tetanus injection.
He said that he also attended Peyia medical centre on Monday morning to receive a hepatitis B injection and will have to go back in three months for an HIV test.
Skipp said that the burglar was also in possession of a knife which he had used to help him gain entry to the property.
“I don’t feel like a hero, I’m just glad that we’ve got this man off the streets. A number of my female customers have told me that they now feel a lot safer.”
Skipp said that his cash register contained nothing and the tip jar had also been emptied previously and so only had a few euros.
“He wouldn’t have got anything anyway.”
The suspect was remanded for eight days in police custody on Saturday.