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The Winton ‘Gimp’: Does he actually exist?

Students have spotted a man dressed in bondage clothes in Winton

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Bournemouth is full of strange characters, but there’s always a clear distinction to be made between the strange and the unsettling. It’s all well and good as an anecdote, but for example, bumping into the ‘Oxford Point Flasher’ is still someone people want to avoid after a night out.

For second year students, Winton is a welcome respite from the freshers madness in town. A smaller part of Bournemouth, and one step closer to uni, but has an unusual person walking around dressed in bondage clothes.

Becki Osborne, an AUB graduate told The Bournemouth Tab: "I saw him on my walk home one night from work. It was creepy. Months later my boyfriend got a picture of him and it was like proof he existed. No one believed me before that."

Stories cropped up about a year ago, but you still hear them. A man, about 6"2 spotted up and down Wimborne road late at night, sometimes following people, sometimes not, always dressed in a full latex gimp suit.

At first, you hear about it secondhand, and burst out laughing. Of course there is, this is Winton we’re talking about, land of day drinkers and motor-scooters, why wouldn’t there also be a full on gimp?

Later, you think about it. You hear accounts, and people start talking about how he seems to be deliberately scaring people. Also, you start to realise that you have to walk home at 2am down the high street…

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People have seen him on the high street

He hasn’t been violent, but again, much like the flasher in town, he certainly isn’t a figure someone wants to encounter. A man with a hidden face, anonymous yet on display, evidently getting some kind of thrill from unsettling students on the way home. While his behaviour doesn’t have a physical impact, it’s still aggressive in its own way, still a deliberate disturbance… still thoroughly creepy.

The following incident happened in October 2018…

Joe Kennedy, an AUB Student, said: "I was driving down Wimborne road about 1am with a full car of people. We saw a guy in a full gimp suit stop and watch us as we drove by. We came back around again to see if he was still there but he'd disappeared into a side road."

He could just be commuting back from a sex party, flying a latex flag high or even testing an extreme form of cruising, but a totally masked figure on patrol at 2am is disturbing, especially on a desolate high road. It's been seen too often for it not to be deliberate. There is a clear thrill in the shock and terror incited in students and locals alike, and after a years worth of sightings, it's becoming a problem.

The gimp (someone who dresses in bondage) has permeated the underground of BU for a while, mostly through hearsay, but this article is for students who think they saw something but weren't sure, to try and identify a figure who may well be just trying to scare us.

If you've seen him, talk about him, and more importantly, report him in some capacity. While most of us can take a bit of a scare on the way home, it's not something we should encourage people to do, and definitely not something we should ignore.

There's a big difference between exhibitionism and intimidation, and this may well be a case of the latter.

If you have seen any unusual or threatening behaviour, please contact [email protected] or if in an emergency, call 999.