Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22-year-old, on August 17, drove a van into pedestrians in Barcelona, killing 16 people and injuring 152 others. The incident occurred a short distance away from Sophie Stevenson’s hotel room, which she was sharing with a friend. “On that day, we were so lucky, we’d just nipped out to buy some drinks and food and were sitting on the terrace when we started hearing gunshots,” recalls Stevenson.
Sophie will never forget the traumatic event. It is not only because of how hauntingly close she came to disaster, but because it was this harrowing event that threw her into the path of 21-year-old, Jesse Mateman.
Stevenson, from Stoke-on-Trent in England, met Mateman whilst their hotel was on lockdown following the terror attack. Mateman, who was staying at the hotel with three friends, looked after the two girls for the next four days of their trip. “[We] felt safe while we were there with them, so we hung out loads,” Stevenson remembers.
The close confinement and terrifying circumstances pushed Stevenson and Mateman together into a “proper holiday romance”, which led to them sleeping together and discussing “a long term relationship.”
Once both of them returned to their respective home, they continued talking every day. Mateman, from Amsterdam, then offered to come to Manchester to meet Stevenson. But later changed his mind and instead invited Stevenson to Amsterdam for a weekend.
Without any hesitation Stevenson spent £350 on plane tickets and a hotel room, traveling from Manchester to Amsterdam on September 29 – over a month after they had initially met in Barcelona.
Both of them spoke just before Stevenson boarded the plane, where Mateman promised to meet her at the airport at 5pm. But as soon as she arrived, she quickly learned that something was wrong…
She realized that Mateman wasn’t anywhere to be seen at the airport. She was confused and worried, waited two hours for him, but when he didn’t turn up she boarded the free shuttle bus to her hotel. “I called him a bunch of times, and he didn’t answer. I waited at the airport for two hours and I hadn’t heard anything, I was really starting to panic about being abandoned,” Stevenson tells the Daily Mail Online.
Then, six hours after she arrived at the hotel Stevenson received a Snapchat message from her lover…
“You were pigged. It was a joke,” his message read. Horrified, Stevenson asked, “How can you be so cruel though!”. Before she could get any further response Mateman blocked her. “All he did was block me. I just couldn’t believe it. I had no way of contacting him. I was petrified being in Amsterdam all on my own,” a humiliated Stevenson heartbreakingly recalls.
The ‘Pull a Pig’ prank is a cruel trick played by groups of males, where they compete to pull “the ugliest looking woman”. Although, ironically the only “pig” is the one playing the game.
Rather than staying for the weekend as per the plan, Stevenson booked a ticket home for the next morning. Mortified, she returned home where she has been vocal in sharing her story. “I am furious that this happened and it’s so dangerous. I want people to know what happened to me so that this never happens to anyone else,” says Stevenson. “Given the circumstance of how we met, you’d think that he’d be slightly more sensitive. I can’t believe this has happened to me.”
Stevenson has been unable to contact Mateman since his sickening message, however, her story has gone viral with thousands condemning Mateman for his cruel behavior – “karma will get him,” reads one message online. Meanwhile, Mateman has refused to comment on the story.