A homeless man allegedly paid £90 by a British stag party to have the groom’s name tattooed on his forehead has said he accepted the payment out of desperation as “that kind of money is like winning the lottery”.
The Polish national, known only as Tomek, met the group in the Spanish resort of Benidorm in May and had the words “Jamie Blake, North Shields, NE28” inked.
“When you live on the street, you’re hungry and you need to drink, that kind of money is like winning the lottery,” the 34-year-old told Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
Despite reports suggesting as many as 30-members of the stag party were present during the tattoo, Tomek says only one person was with him when he went under the needle.
“There was just one person (with me), who was as drunk as I was, laughing and taking photos,” he said. “When I couldn’t take it any more because the part they were tattooing was just skin and bone, he looked at me and just said: ‘Go.’”
Jamie Blake spoke out about the tattoo earlier this month, telling the Newcastle Evening Chronicle that he was not present during the inking and that Tomek was not homeless and in fact lived with a friend of his.
“I got drunk and was asked to leave the bar. I was never in the tattoo parlour and as far as I know he (Tomek) was not paid any money,” the 37-year-old said.
Tomek, who last week reportedly asked police to investigate the incident, said he could not understand how the tattooist involved had gone through with the job given how intoxicated he was.
The artist had originally posted a picture of Tomek being inked on Facebook but it was quickly deleted as outrage mounted and there were calls for his parlour to be shut down.
Karen Cowles, president of the Benidorm British Business Association, had called the incident “utterly inhuman and akin to abuse”.
The pain of getting a forehead tattoo, Tomek told the newspaper, was excruciating. “If it hurt me so much and I was totally drunk, I can’t imagine how much it would hurt someone who was sober.”
Tomek told El Mundo that he had worked in the kitchen of a four-star hotel in Poland before walking to Spain following the break-up of a relationship. He had been due to marry his girlfriend, the paper reported.
Tomek said he had been robbed a few days before meeting the stag party and was initially reluctant to go to the police about being tattooed.
“I thought the police would laugh at me and I didn’t think what they’d done to me was a crime, but now I know it was,” he said.
The incident led to the Benidorm British Business Association and local social services raising over £2,500 so Tomek could have the tattoo removed.
Tomek told El Mundo that he hoped some good would come from the experience and his new-found infamy.
“I might even open a restaurant serving traditional Polish food. Who knows? After what’s happened to me, I’m never going to give up.”