Nigel â€"Nacho” Bowden - Spanish-based freelance journalist

Legendary Spanish freelance Nigel “Nacho” Bowden has died from a heart attack in Spain. He was 51.

Nigel stumbled into journalism and became one of its masters. He will be greatly missed by many Fleet Street and TV pals.

He
was an academic who gained a doctorate in marine biology and revelled
in the story of being forced to flee Britain when he was caught selling
lobsters from research laboratories to restaurants.

He arrived on
the Costa del Sol in a battered Fiat in the early Eighties and began
working as a teacher. His first contact with journalism came when he
met staff of Lookout magazine, produced for ex-pats, and was introduced
to the news agency partnership of Bill Bond and Tim Brown in Madrid.

Nigel became their man on the Costas before eventually going solo.

Photographer
Derek Ive tells of the early days when Nigel was green, insecure and
full of self-doubt. The young Bowden was, he said, a million miles from
the brazen and cheeky chappy who proudly took on the nickname “Slippery
of the Costas”.

Hours before he died he was talking to Derek
about seeking an escape from journalism and was seriously considering
writing a book on his exploits.

One of his favourites tales was
of tracking down the luxury Portuguese villa where the then Prime
Minister John Major and his wife were to spend a summer holiday.

Nigel
assembled a dummy bomb, wrapped it, then conned his way inside the
villa. He placed it inside Mr Major’s bedside cabinet with a note
saying: “You are lucky Mr Major, we are hacks and not terrorists.”

The security services discovered the package and went ballistic, but Nigel got a scoop.

Apart
from being a charming companion, Nigel was an ace reporter who would
doggedly pursue any story. He played a blinder when The Sun broke the
big story of “Captain Crumpet”

Angela Jackson, who dumped her
husband to run off with a sergeant. He managed to track down the jilted
husband to his hideaway in Spain and not only obtained an exclusive
interview – but persuaded him to pose for pictures in the swimming pool
with his kids.

Nigel covered all the big stories in Spain, like
the death of Robert Maxwell, the capture of serial rapist Richard Baker
and the arrest of killer Kenneth Noye.

He was comfortable mixing with villains and cops alike and produced an abundance of stories from a long list of contacts.

He was cremated in Madrid. His family are planning a memorial meal at one of Nigel’s favourite restaurants in Spain in April.

Ian Hepburn, The Sun

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