A DARING escapologist who hung upside down from the top of Blackpool Tower has dug himself a hole he won’t be able to escape from – his own grave.
And in an even more unusual twist, Karl Bartoni has had his headstone erected in a pet cemetery, alongside the graves of his beloved pooches Charlie and Barney.
The 62-year-old – who remains alive and well and living on Overdale Grove, Grange Park, Blackpool – first made the decision to be buried in Rossendale Pet Crematorium when he lost his dog Barney (right) back in 1994.
But it was only when his companion of 15 years, Yorkshire Terrier Charlie, died last year he set about putting his plan into action.
“I don’t feel as though I’m being unusual,” explained Mr Bartoni, who was granted special permission for his burial back in 1994. Barney was a big part of my life and I really wanted eventually to be buried with him and when Charlie died I had the headstone made.
“There’s a big difference between a dog owner and a dog lover. Charlie was a member of the family and I think he and Barney deserve what I would do for a member of the family.”
Mr Bartoni was watched by millions when he wed Wendy Stokes mid-air at the of the tower in 1985, two years after he performed three daring escapes suspended 400ft from the iconic structure.
The couple have since split, and Mr Bartoni – real name Antoni Peter Bartnik – joked by having his headstone made early at least he was able to spell-check his unusual name.
He said: “I knew exactly what I wanted to put on the headstone when the time comes and I can’t guarantee there will be anyone who will do that for me. I’ve done lots of escapes in Blackpool – hanging from the top of the Tower, and death doesn’t faze me.”
Russell Gray, manager of the Rossendale Pet Crematorium, said: “We’re quite unusual in that we have a licence to bury humans as well. There’s only a handful that offer that in the country.”