Australia

Snake bites ex-Gaddafi bodyguard during toilet break

Gary Peters was bitten outside the local pub in Gregory, which has a population of around 40 people Image copyright CareFlight
Image caption Gary Peters (pictured with his face blurred) was bitten outside the local pub in Gregory, which has a population of around 40 people

A former Gaddafi family bodyguard who became a bartender in the Australian outback has been bitten by a snake while urinating in a bush.

Australian man Gary Peters was bodyguard to Saadi Gaddafi, the son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, but now works in a Queensland pub.

The 52-year-old was drinking with friends after a shift on Wednesday when he stepped outside to relieve himself.

Mr Peters had just finished urinating when the mulga snake struck his ankle.

He said that he saw venom dripping down his leg and feared he would die from the bite.

"I only got a small dosage [of venom], enough to make me crook. If I had more I would have been in a body bag, I would have been dead," Mr Peters said.

The venom of the mulga snake is not as toxic as in some other Australian snake species, but is produced in very large quantities.

Workmate Peta Warden said she "thought nothing of it" when Mr Peters returned to the bar asking for a shoelace to use as a tourniquet.

"I was just having a nice quiet drink and Gary decided to go [outside] even though the newly renovated toilets are only about 2m away," Ms Warden told the BBC.

She and a friend held Mr Peters down on the back of a utility truck tray until they reached the closest helipad. An air ambulance then flew him 300km (186 miles) to Mt Isa Hospital.

Mr Peters met Saadi Gaddafi at Sydney's Olympic Games in 2000, where he was assigned to protect visiting dignitaries as a member of the Australian army.

He worked as Gaddafi's bodyguard during the Libyan uprising in 2011. As Tripoli fell to rebel forces, Mr Peters helped Gaddafi escape to Niger, in defiance of a United Nations travel ban on the dictator's son.

In 2013 he was deported from Canada, where he ran a private security company, after being found complicit in war crimes. A judge ruled he was a "member of the [Libyan] government apparatus".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption In 2011, Mr Peters helped Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's son Saadi (far right in blue) defy a United Nations travel ban and flee his besieged compound for Niger

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