Man says Magaluf bouncer almost killed him

time:2023-06-01 09:52:04 source:CBS News

A man spent three days in a coma after he said he was "brutally attacked" by a doorman while on holiday in Spain.

Josh Pesticcio, 24, from Cardiff, said he wanted to warn others of the dangers of clubbing in Magaluf, a resort in Majorca popular for its nightlife.

He suffered a brain haemorrhage and was told he would have died if he had arrived at hospital any later.

Officials in Spain said the group he was with were fighting outside, which led to the injuries.

It comes after a British family successfully campaigned for a UK inquest into their son's death in the same resort.

Mr Pesticcio was on holiday with 24 friends from his football club, the Cardiff Locksmiths, and four of their fathers.

They arrived on the island on 26 June 2022, had dinner and a few drinks before heading to the Magaluf strip.

Josh said none of the group were excessively drunk.

"Everyone's having drinks, chatting, having a bit of a laugh and then one of the boys, which obviously drew the bouncers attention, jumped on one of the other boys' back," said Josh.

He said the bouncer pulled him off his back and said "look, you can't be doing this".

By the time the group had settled down, a drink had been spilled, and Josh said the bouncer had dragged him outside through the front door.

When his friend Joel Norris, 23, went looking for him, he found Josh lying unconscious.

"I've just sort of looked to my left, and I saw Josh on the floor, face down... there was already a big trail of blood flowing down the pavements," he said.

"I knew it wasn't good and my initial thought was to sort of jump on Josh, and see if he was all right, which he wasn't. He wasn't awake or responding."

Another friend, Rhys Rogan, 26, said he came out of the club to find a big circle of people.

He said: "I didn't have any inkling my friends were involved in whatever was going on and I made myself through the circle, and I see Josh on the floor covered in blood.

"Joel was over him, and there were people there recording so I sobered up instantly, adrenaline took over, and the initial thought was to help Josh.

"I thought he was dead to be honest when I first saw him. Just laying on his back, his breathing was horrendous."

As a prison officer, Mr Rogan had first-aid training but said "the amount of blood on his face was probably one of the worst things I've seen" and he "was just trying to preserve as much as I could for Josh".

"I didn't want to move him too much at all just in case it caused any further damage," he said.

At this stage, Joel said a fight had broken out outside the club with the Guardia Civil involved, a law enforcement agency in Spain and one of the two national police forces, where club bouncers had stood back.

"I was screaming for help because I knew that Josh was in a bad way," Joel said.

"Nobody that worked there wanted to help or call an ambulance, which was clearly required and they just sort of neglected the situation which they caused."

He said the swelling was immediately "quite severe" and blood was pouring from his nose and mouth.

Josh Pesticcio was in a coma for three days and his father, Steve Pesticcio, said seeing his son in that way was "horrific" and that he "didn't think he'd last the day".

"It was heart-breaking. That's my boy. He's one of my children," he said.

"He opened his eyes and they said he would survive. It was just like we'd won the lottery as I was told he was within an hour of losing his life."

When Steve Pesticcio went to the police to report it as an attempted murder, he said he was told to wait while they dealt with a woman's lost phone.

"They said they were aware of the situation, gave me a crime number and said they're investigating."

But the family said that was the last they heard.

The Guardia Civil said there was a drunken fight between two groups in the club, which had continued outside.

A spokesperson said officers had checked CCTV footage and the hands of club staff but there was insufficient evidence to arrest anyone.

However, Josh Pesticcio said attacks like this were happening on a regular basis.

Tobias White-Sansom, 35, from Nottingham, was involved in an altercation outside a nightclub on the same strip and subsequently died.

Hi mother, Lorraine Thompson, said her "amazing" son - a father-of-two from Nottingham - was pinned down by nightclub security staff following a row over him removing his T-shirt because he was too hot.

She told the BBC the Spanish Civil Guard - the Guardia Civil - were called and her son was handcuffed, tasered and injected with tranquilisers before going into cardiac arrest.

He was taken to hospital where he was kept in an induced coma before doctors advised his life support be switched off on 31 July.

Mrs Thompson said an autopsy in Spain had concluded her son's death was drugs-related.

His family disputes this and has asked for a second, independent, autopsy.

Mrs Thompson said she was pleased a UK coroner would now investigate his death.

Despite his traumatic experience, Josh Pesticcio said he felt "incredibly lucky" he had not suffered permanent injury, but was still unable to play football competitively.

"It is a bit of a miracle, I think, considering how bad it was," he said.

"So it's frustrating watching from the side lines but it's for the benefit of my health. So it's minor in comparison."

Josh wants other holiday makers to be aware of what can happen on night out, with Rhys adding "the issue [in Magaluf] is when you're drunk, you're instantly guilty".

"I would say it's an extremely dangerous place for big groups, small groups, any ages of people - I think it's such a dangerous scenario to be in.

"The size of the bouncers out there and the sheer power of them, if they want to hurt you out there, they will hurt you."

A spokesman for the Balearic government said: "Magaluf, like the rest of Mallorca and the Balearic Islands, is a safe destination.

"It always has been and will continue to be so in the future."

He said their legislation, which aims to combat excessive tourism in certain tourist areas, is "necessary to protect tourists' safety and comfort as well as restoring the relationship between tourists and locals".

He said since 2018, cases of serious injury have decreased by 90% in Magaluf.

A new law which aims to fight unsafe tourism has brought about 30 fines for the objectification of women, alcohol promotion and "party boats" in Magaluf alone this summer, he said.

"The government believes that thanks to these laws the islands will remain a welcoming destination for British holidaymakers who wish to spend an enjoyable time in the destination," he added.

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