Mother of 'home alone' girl flies into arms of police
Wednesday 17 February 1993
'I didn't do nothing. I invited her on holiday,' Yasmin Gibson shouted, as she was led away by four airport police after touching down at Heathrow. After bypassing the arrivals lounge, she was driven away in a police van.
Ms Gibson, a 32-year-old 'dancer', had left her daughter Gemma, 11, at home in her west London flat at the beginning of the month.
This time, she left her 65-year- old Arab benefactor, Mohammad al-Masri, home alone - in his luxury seafront flat on Marbella's 'golden mile'. Hit by a tidal wave of newsmen for 24 hours, he looked befuddled but not overly sad to see her go.
It seems Mr Masri, a Libyan entrepreneur who lost a packet during Beirut's decline and moved to the more peaceful end of the Mediterranean, invited her to spend February in Spain's jetset resort.
He did this, Ms Gibson told the British press corps, over expense- account bottles of rioja blanca, because he is 'just a good friend and a wonderful guy'.
Gemma, an aspiring actress who has already outshone her mother by winning a bit-part in The Bill, did not consider Mr Masri so wonderful and declined to be part of the arrangement.
When neighbours discovered last week she had been left alone, with her lunch money and instructions to call a neighbour if she had any problems, they called Hammersmith police and Gemma was taken into care.
Forget about Scotland Yard, ignore Interpol, don't even think about the Guardia Civil. Needless to say, it was the tabloids who traced Ms Gibson on Monday as she strolled along the beach in front of the exclusive Marbella Club near Mr Masri's apartment.
When they persuaded her to join them for drinks at the posh Melia Don Pepe hotel the same night, the Spanish police were still scouring local nightclubs at the request of the Yard via Interpol.
The local police were eventually tipped off but could still not find the English dancer, who was being passed from room to room of the hotel for one 'exclusive' interview after another.
She pleaded innocence, described Gemma as a 'wicked daughter' and said she would not return home because 'the weather here is just getting nice'.
Gemma was 'a real madam, with a big ego' and was probably loving all the publicity, she insisted, unaware that she was talking herself into 'Britain's most hated mother' in banner headlines.
It was yesterday morning before three rather bored-looking Spanish police officers showed up. They need hardly have bothered. The chaps from the Sun had already woven their plot.
The word was spread around the press corps - every major tabloid plus a couple of television stations - that the Sun had persuaded Ms Gibson to return to the hotel yesterday to pose in a skimpy bikini. They knew it would be skimpy, they said, because they had just bought it themselves for around pounds 130. Ms Gibson, of course, never showed up. Smelling a rat, the couple of dozen waiting newsmen left the hotel pool area to look for their Sun colleagues.
Some caught up with them, on their way to nearby Malaga airport with Ms Gibson safely in the back seat, and a high speed chase ensued. To no avail.
As for Mr Masri, he went back to running his Marbella pub. He calls it Willie's English Bar and is said to do all right.
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