Ice attack man tells of series of bungles

SHANE STANT, who has confessed to the FBI that he carried out the bizarre attack on the US figure-skater Nancy Kerrigan, makes a lousy hitman.

His confession to federal agents, released this week, suggests that the plot to try to cripple the skater, jeopardising her chances in the forthcoming Winter Olympics, was riddled with blunders and left a clear paper trail.

Mr Stant, 22, a martial arts enthusiast from Phoenix, Arizona, is one of four men who have admitted involvement in the assault. Among them is Jeff Gillooly, who claims his former wife, the figure-skater Tonya Harding, gave the go-ahead - an allegation she denies.

Mr Stant told the FBI he flew on 28 December to Massachusetts, where Ms Kerrigan was believed to be skating, after a meeting in Oregon with his fellow conspirators. He was equipped with a police-style nightstick, and a computer print- out containing information about his victim, and a glamour photo of her. The operation did not go smoothly. His FBI statement says that on arriving in Boston, he discovered he had brought the wrong credit card, and was unable to rent a car. He spent two days moping around waiting for another card to be sent from Arizona.

Having finally acquired a vehicle, hired in his real name, he then spent another three days watching an ice arena in South Dedham, moving his car every 20 minutes or so to avoid suspicion, before asking rink officials whether Ms Kerrigan was there. She had gone to Detroit, Michigan, for the US Figure Skating Championships, he was told.

As he was running out of money, he decided to take a train to Detroit, only to discover on arrival at the railway station that there were no trains. In the end, his statement says, he opted for a Greyhound bus.

The travails of the hitman (who has already related his story to a US tabloid television show) did not end there. When he attempted to rent a car in Detroit - again in his real name - his credit card was at first refused because the previous car rental branch had held back a dollars 400 deposit (pounds 266).

Two days later he clubbed Ms Kerrigan on the leg at the end of a practice session. Even afterwards, there were problems: his statement says he and his getaway driver spent up to four hours waiting for a dollars 1,300 money wire, allowing them to buy air tickets home.

The skater in question, page 19