'Naked rambler' Stephen Gough jailed for breaching Asbo

 

The “naked rambler” has been jailed for 11 months after being found guilty of breaching an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) banning him from being naked in public just minutes after it was imposed.

Stephen Gough, 53, of Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire, was not allowed in court for his trial after he refused to wear clothes. He had denied the charge but offered no defence during the hearing at Portsmouth Crown Court.

Simon Jones, prosecuting, said the naked rights activist left Southampton Magistrates' Court on February 28 after being handed the interim order and walked, wearing just his boots and socks, to the road where he was arrested while still holding the order saying he must cover his buttocks and genitalia.

The jury was told that police offered Gough clothes to cover himself, but he refused to take them.

"It was a flagrant disregard of a court order," Mr Jones said.

Gough has already been convicted of nine public order counts in Hampshire of going naked in public, including past a primary school and Winchester Cathedral, the court was told.

The jurors returned their guilty verdict in less than 10 minutes.

Sentencing Gough today, judge Sarah Munro QC said: "This is a much more serious offence than the other public order offences. In those circumstances I take the view only a substantial custodial sentence is appropriate."

She said that Gough, who has been on remand, will be eligible for release on August 14 - one day after there is a hearing at Southampton Magistrates' Court to impose a full Asbo on the former Royal Marine.

The judge conceded that, if she had allowed Gough to leave by imposing a sentence commensurate with his time already served: "There is a reality here that he will walk out on these steps naked. I do not think I can ignore that reality."

She joked to the jury that she was not sure it was a shame they had not seen the defendant.

Gough has now been sentenced to more than six years in prison for his belief that it is his human right to be naked in public.

Judge Munro said that so far he has received 28 convictions for 46 offences - mainly in Scotland - for being nude.

Eastleigh Borough Council and Hampshire Police had jointly applied for the original Asbo and it is believed they will seek a permanent order.

Gough gained notoriety in 2003 and 2005 when he walked naked from Land's End to John O'Groats and was the subject of a TV documentary.

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