Homeless man who cheated to finish London Marathon ‘stole house boat and painted it to make it look like it was his’
- Homeless Stanley Skupien is accused of stealing a house boat on Wednesday
- The 38-year-old stole a race number to finish the London Marathon last month
- Lawrence O’Connor found his boat painted black and miles away in Harlesden
- He claims Skupien was wearing his clothes and ruined the craft’s engine
First he was accused of trying to claim a London Marathon medal after taking a runner’s race number.
Now the man known as the ‘Jogging Tramp’ has allegedly tried to take another’s man’s houseboat.
Just a week after Stanley Skupien was arrested on suspicion of stealing a London Marathon runner’s medal, he was pictured here on a houseboat which had been reported stolen.
The 38-year-old who regularly sleeps rough in Heathrow Airport, where staff know him as the Jogging Tramp, was allegedly caught painting a missing blue houseboat an hour after it was reported stolen from its mooring in Wembley.
Homeless Stanley Skupien, 38, who cheated to finish the London Marathon has been accused of stealing a house boat and painting the nicked barge to make it look like it was his
Owner Lawrence O’Connor, 53, took to Facebook to appeal for help in finding his missing house boat (pictured) after it vanished from Grand Union canal, in Wembley on Wednesday
Lawrence O’Connor, a theatre director and actor, called 999 at 6.18pm last Wednesday (May 2) after coming home to find the houseboat he had lovingly restored missing.
An hour later he found his boat three miles up the Grand Union Canal moored on the opposite side of the water in Harlesden being painted black by Skupien.
The Polish former builder had casually draped his London marathon ‘finisher’ top on the tiller and made himself ‘comfy’, even getting in Mr O’Connor’s bed.
The shocked boat owner called police on seeing the homeless man wearing his clothing and boots and apparently wielding a large axe, which he said was dropped overboard the moment officers arrived.
But Mr Skupien denied stealing the boat, telling officers he had been asked to paint it for a mystery man who had now vanished.
He was unable to explain why he was wearing Mr O’Connor’s shorts, hoodie and boots or why the boat had been taken from its mooring and the engine filled with petrol instead of diesel which appears to have caused the boat to break down.
But astonishingly the officers accepted his story and decided not to arrest Skupien.
When Mr O’Connor protested days later, he was told the case was closed.
O’Connor (pictured), a theatre company director, said Skupien was wearing his clothes, ‘making himself generally very comfy’ while painting the boat black
Now the furious boat owner has made an official complaint to the Metropolitan Police.
After appealing for help to trace his floating home on Facebook he wrote: ‘Boat found with bloke trying to paint it black- including the glass of the windows!!
‘Wearing my clothes, and making himself generally very comfy.
‘Called 999. Police arrived but not madly interested in investigating the guy’s story that ‘some man asked’ him to paint, nor in the fact that he dropped a large axe overboard as they approached, nor that the boat had been covered with tarpaulins and distinguishing features attempted be covered-up/removed.
‘Engine kaput for the time being, with its abductors having put petrol in the diesel and dismantled the air intake.
‘Back deck trashed.’
Mr O’Connor added: ‘The officers on the scene said that they believed his story that someone found him sleeping rough and offered him money to paint the boat and they weren’t able to prove his story is not true.
‘Leaves many questions unanswered and is very strange. I insisted they take action to find whoever was behind the theft.
‘I received an email this morning saying the case is closed and no further action will be taken.’
The case has provoked fury among local boat owners.
The Met Police confirmed that no arrests were made and the suspect was assisting officers with their enquiries. Pictured: Skupien after cheating to finish the London Marathon
One friend Rosaleen Donnan said on Facebook: ‘Stanley Skupien (confirmed as the marathon cheat) stole a boat (theft), took the owner’s clothes and wore them (theft), started to change the boat’s identity by painting it black (criminal damage), put petrol in the diesel engine through ignorance (criminal damage), moved the boat, was caught red-handed and photographed in the act of theft and criminal damage (evidence aplenty), threw his axe overboard… this was observed and noted by police and then they let him go with NO arrest.’
She went on: ‘We cannot rely or trust the police in any way to take any boat crime seriously.’
Just days before the incident, the so-called marathon cheat claimed he deserved the London Marathon medal he was awarded after picking up another runner’s lost number yards from the finish line.
He claimed he was ‘finishing the race for all the homeless people’ despite only running 14 miles of the course.
Skupien said he chanced upon the race number yards from the finish line, which belonged to runner Jake Halliday, 28, of Edinburgh, who was disqualified for losing the marathon sticker, despite raising £48,000 for the charity Bloodwise.
Skupien told The Sun: ‘I saw the number face-up in the middle of the road. I knew if I had one I would get a medal – my heart leaped, it was a dream come true. I had no thoughts of the person whose number it was.’
The jobless builder was seen swigging champagne, beer and wine from the crowd while running.
He crossed the line four hours after he joined the race – and was given a finisher’s medal and T-shirt.
The jobless builder was seen swigging champagne, beer and wine from the crowd while running. He crossed the line four hours after he joined the race – and was given a finisher’s medal and T-shirt
Days later he was arrested on suspicion of theft.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: ‘A 38-year-old was arrested at Heathrow Airport on suspicion of theft on April 24 relating to an incident in Central London on April 22. He was released under investigation.’
Just a week after he was released under investigation, he was found on the missing houseboat.
A police spokesman said no evidence of an axe was found at the location: ‘Police were called at 6.18pm on Wednesday, 2 May to reports that a canal boat had been taken from its usual location and criminally damaged in the Grand Union Canal, Acton Lane, NW10.
‘Officers attended and found that the boat had been moored on the opposite side of the canal and it had been painted a different colour. The victim also reported that the engine had been damaged.
‘Officers attended and spoke with the alleged suspect, who had waited for their arrival, and he said he was asked by an unknown man to paint the boat for money.
‘The man is assisting officers with their enquiries.
‘No arrests have been made.’
Last night Skupien was not available for contact.
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