By Otis Shaw
Tom Leppard, 73 years old, known in the tattoo community as the Leopard Man, has left his hillside dwellings, in the Isle of Skye, for a home with electricity and running water.
The leopard Man has lived on the shoreline near Kyleakin for nearly 20 years. His entire body is covered in leopard spots and his teeth filed into feline points. Tourists flock to the island to see Mr. Leppard prowling around the hills in nothing more than a loin cloth.
Local residents have no objections to the former Special Forces soldier joining them for a pint in the pub. Tourism has doubled on the island since The Leopard Man became the most talked about and the most tattooed man in the world. A title only recently contested by Lucky Diamond Rich of Melbourne, Australia.
Renowned for his famed appearances at Tattoo conventions around the world, Tom Leppard, has become a media eccentric. Images of The leopard Man running through fields of heather and lapping from mountain springs shocked the nation years ago. With little need for clothes or social airs and graces, Tom Leppard preferred to hang from a cage during public appearances, tearing at lumps of raw meat. His natural habitat consists of traditional stone dwellings, a gas stove and a humble bed made of polystyrene.
The hermits remote dwellings will be dismantled this week. Council workers have estimated the job should take no longer than a couple of hours. Tom Leppard’s worldly possessions managed to fit in a bin liner. The change in lifestyle was always on the cards. The 73 year old has in recent years struggled with the 3 mile canoe ride in order to stock up on weekly groceries, “I’m getting too old for that kind of life”.
His views on returning to a more civilised approach to life, “I’ve never had a TV or radio and I’m not going to start now – it’s all rubbish anyway. A newspaper was my only reading material in the bothy and I’ll stick with that”
Tom Leppard has 99% of his body decorated with leopard spots. The only remaining skin without ink is behind his ears and between his toes. The cost of such an extreme make-over is estimated at around £7,000. Scottish Power have estimated he has probably made that money back living in a cave without electricity.