There has been an outpouring of grief and shock from the community of Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria after the tragic news that a well known British resident, named in the UK press as Donna Cowley, had died after being found covered in blood in an apartment in the well known tourist town on the south of Gran Canaria. Donna’s partner of some years, well known ex-professional wrestler Jimmy Breaks (known in the 1980s on ITV as “Cry Baby”) was also named by the newspapers, after pictures emerged of him being led in handcuffs by a member of the Guardia Civil, who arrested the longtime resident on Gran Canaria, on suspicion of having beaten his ex-partner and resisting arrest.
An autopsy is currently being carried out, after Ms Cowley suffered a cardiac arrest some hours following the alleged beating, while she was being examined in hospital. Many locals knew the pair, who had a 30 year age difference, and expressed deep sadness and shock at the awful news. Many have spoken of how delightful Ms Cowley was and what fun she had been to know, others also were quick to point out that this was a highly unusual incident and was in no way a reflection on the island or in any way a reason to cancel holidays. One lady expressed her regret for Mr Breaks and Ms Cowley saying “both lived in GC for years, I’ve known them both for many years… I don’t believe the gentleman in question was aware of his actions.”
Both Jimmy and Donna were well known and liked throughout the local area. This incident has shocked many.
The UK tabloids, as usual, have been quick to sensationalise the story, with reports appearing in several UK newspapers, focused on Jimmy’s wrestling past and the suspicion that Ms Cowley died as a result of her injuries. Authorities here have been more restrained, taking Mr Breaks into custody, reporting the facts as they have them, and awaiting the final autopsy report to find out whether Ms Cowley’s injuries played a significant role in her subsequent heart attack.
Meanwhile, many have spoken of their grief at the untimely death. Canary Islands Government spokespeople are reported to have been quick to condemn the incident, saying in no uncertain terms that all society must stand together to stamp out gender violence, in all its forms, and send a clear message that violence, particularly in the home or against women, is not only unacceptable, but will not be tolerated.