Scot stabbed on Florida beach: Tourist injured by two muggers

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The Independent Online
A SCOTTISH tourist was stabbed by two muggers while strolling along a beach in Florida early yesterday.

Donny MacLeod, 26, of Portree, Isle of Skye, needed 56 stitches in his stomach, chest and legs after the attack at 2am on Fort Lauderdale beach.

A police spokeswoman said: 'He was accosted by two black males. They tried to grab his necklace and he put up a struggle. It was at that time that he was cut and stabbed.'

Mr MacLeod ran to a nearby hotel for help after his attackers fled. He was taken then to the Cleveland Clinic Hospital and later discharged.

The attack follows the murder in Florida last month of Gary Colley, shot in his car while he rested with his girlfriend, and will once again fuel concerns over the safety of tourists travelling to the sunshine state.

Nine foreign visitors have been killed in Florida in just over a year, bringing unwelcome publicity to the state's tourist industry, worth dollars 31bn (pounds 20bn) each year. Highway patrols have been increased.

Following Mr Colley's murder, Patricia Yates, the editor of Holiday Which?, criticised travel agents for failing to pass on Foreign Office advice to tourists until after they had booked their holidays, 'too late to enable consumers to consider this crucial information when they select their destination'.

Foreign Office advice on travelling to Florida begins by noting that 800,000 Britons holiday in the region each year and only nine tourists have been murdered over the last year. It urges visitors to be 'vigilant at all times and look out for suspicious persons'.

Keith Betton, head of corporate affairs at the Association of British Travel Agents, believed travel companies were doing enough to warn passengers. Most operators were showing safety videos on flights, while car hire companies gave customers maps and guidance on areas to avoid.

'Most of the things you need to do or avoid are basically common sense,' Mr Betton said. 'We've got to make sure that people who live in sleepy little villages in England are aware of the sorts of dangers they will face in an urban environment.'