Titus Clarysse: Belgian man who skipped 100 restaurant bills is killed
Friday 24 January 2014
He was a “happy-go-lucky” guy who was notorious for spicing up life on benefits in the medieval Belgian town of Ghent by strolling into a restaurant, calmly ordering lobster washed down with the finest brandy or some other gastronomic delight and then walking out without paying the bill.
But, after 100 or so incidents spread over a five-year spree, Titus Clarysse has turned up dead, prompting police to launch an investigation of “murder or manslaughter”.
Newspapers reported that he had been stabbed, but police refused to confirm this and there was no immediate indication of the motive.
However, his past as an unrepentant freeloader is almost certainly a focus of the investigation and questions on detective’s minds will surely include: Did he push a hot-headed chef too far, was he killed by a keenly sharpened Sabatier and just what was his last meal?
Tim Joiris, head of the Ghent region restaurant and hotel federation, struggled to believe anyone could have gone so far.
“Curse him? Maybe. But kill him? That makes no sense,” he said.
Detectives might do well to speak to Mr Joiris, as restaurant owners would often come to him to complain.
“It was trouble for everyone. And what's worse, for long nobody knew how really to deal with it,” he said.
“In the end, we knew his face, but you know, on a busy terrace in summer, full of people, he knew how to blend in.
“He did it all, the grand restaurants, the terraces. He really tried them all.”
Mr Clarysse was a “tafelschuimer” — someone who takes everything, even the crumbs, off the table.
“He was asking for it all — the whole menu,” Mr Joiris said with a laugh. “He would sit and wait after the meal — another beer, a brandy.
“We are not talking about an aggressive guy. He was just happy-go-lucky about it.”
Mr Joiris said that tales of people being forced to do the dishes if they could not afford to pay were “a myth”.
Titus Clarysse was known around Ghent (Rex)
Restaurants in Ghent, a medieval university town with gabled fronts and terraces on cobblestones, attract an international and varied clientele.
Police spokeswoman Annemie Sirlippens said the 35-year-old Clarysse was found dead in his apartment on Monday night. She said they were looking for suspects in what she called “a case of murder or manslaughter”.
On his exploits in restaurant, she said: “We are talking about 100 incidents spread over several convictions.”
De Standaard newspaper reported he was living on municipal welfare and often seemed to have what the paper described as the wrong kind of friends.
The website Deredactie.be said that Mr Clarysse’s body had been found by his father. It added that Mr Clarysse had been given a six-month prison sentence and a 1,650-euro fine for failing to pay restaurant bills.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...
£50 - £60 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Long term SIMS School Administr...