‘Exhibitionist’ rambler back in court over naked strolls

The “naked rambler” has been fined after he was found guilty of nine public order offences for walking nude in public places including outside a primary school.

Stephen Gough, 53, of Chamberlayne Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire, denied behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

But District Judge Anthony Calloway found Gough guilty of the offences, ruling that the unwitting members of the public had been “distressed” at seeing the defendant without clothes on.

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He fined the defendant £200 for each offence but waived payment of the fine in lieu of time served by Gough in custody.

District Judge Calloway said: “There is evidence, in my judgment, there are elements of the defendant as an exhibitionist.”

Gough’s refusal to put on clothes in public has led to him spending prolonged terms in prison for repeatedly breaching court rulings.

Gough was banned from entering the court after he refused to wear clothing for the trial.

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Giving his ruling that Gough could not sit naked during the hearing, District Judge Calloway said: “In my opinion to enter a court room naked for any purpose is potentially disrespectful to the court, its staff, the public and those interested in the proceedings and in my judgment is capable of being regarded as offensive.”

Charles Nightingale, prosecuting, said that in several of the offences Gough was seen by parents with young children who were 
“shocked and alarmed” at seeing him naked.

He said the offences took place in various locations including country footpaths, Southampton city centre and at a magistrates’ court.

The nine offences occurred in a 17-day period in February this year.

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In the first of the offences, Gough walked past a primary school in Andover on February 11, although none of the children were believed to have seen him.

Gough was arrested four days later after walking naked along a footpath in Eastleigh.

A 17-year-old girl who saw Gough on another occasion said: “I use that footpath a lot. I do not know what his intentions were, whether he was going to hurt us or whether he was a sexual predator.”

Tom Stevens, defending, said that his client believed his nudity was allowed under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act which protects freedom of expression.

Gough remains in custody as he awaits trial for a further charge of an alleged breach of an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) banning him from being naked in public.