Stephen Gough

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For the footballer of the same name, see Stephen Gough (footballer).
Stephen Gough
Born Stephen Gough
c. 1959
Nationality British

Stephen Gough (born one of seven children c. 1959), also known as Steve Gough and the Naked Rambler, is an activist and a British former Royal Marine. In 2003–04, he walked the length of Great Britain naked. He did it again in 2005–06, but was arrested in England and in Scotland. He subsequently spent six years in prison, having been repeatedly rearrested for public nudity within a short period, each time he was released. He spent most of his sentences in Saughton Prison and Perth Prison in Scotland.

Activism[edit]

Naked rambling[edit]

Gough, an ex-lorry driver, is from Eastleigh, Hampshire, and is famous for walking the length of Great Britain from Land's End to John o' Groats over 2003 and 2004 wearing only boots, socks, a rucksack and sometimes a hat. He was arrested and imprisoned on numerous occasions during the course of his ramble.

His second Land's End to John o' Groats ramble was in 2005 and 2006 and accompanied by his girlfriend Melanie Roberts. He was arrested twice in England but almost immediately released. Upon entering Scotland, he was arrested several times, the current total being over 20 including contempt of court after he appeared naked before a judge. His website claimed that ordering him to wear clothes for his court appearance "breached Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights" – Right to a Fair Trial. He claimed that Articles 3 and 5 to 11 had been repeatedly breached by the authorities since he and Melanie had arrived in Scotland. He served a three-month sentence in Saughton Prison. The walk was resumed on 12 February 2006, and completed shortly after on Monday 20 February the same year. The Guardian newspaper congratulated the couple on completing their journey, stating that they were practicing gymnosophy in the tradition of people such as George Bernard Shaw.[1]

Gough was involved with the public nudity advocacy group The Freedom to be Yourself.[2]

Six years in prison[edit]

Gough was arrested again on 19 May 2006 at Edinburgh Airport after removing his clothes during a flight from Southampton to Edinburgh and refusing to get dressed.[3] On 25 August 2006 he was given a seven month jail sentence.[4] On 9 April 2007 Gough was cleared of charges related to his refusal to dress upon being released into Saughton Prison car park in Edinburgh. The ruling judge, Isobel Poole, found that there was no evidence of "actual alarm or disturbance", adding "I can understand this conduct could be considered unpleasant to passers-by had there been any but there is a lack of evidence to that effect."[5] In November 2007, Gough lost his appeal against contempt of court convictions for refusing to wear clothes during his 2005 trial and had another 3 months added to his sentence.[6]

In January 2008, after spending most of the previous 20 months in jail (being rearrested for nudity each time he was released and each time he appeared in court), Gough was released and told that if he went for three months without appearing naked in public he would not be returned to jail for outstanding convictions; two hours later he left the court naked and was immediately re-arrested and subsequently returned to jail.[7] Gough served his time in Barlinnie Prison and was released on 14 October 2008, when he was again immediately arrested for leaving the prison naked. On 14 November, he was cleared of that offence on the grounds of insufficient evidence, but appeared in the dock naked and was rearrested in the foyer of Glasgow Sheriff Court.[8] On 18 December he was convicted of a breach of the peace and sentenced to a further 12 months.[9]

In July 2009, Gough, once again standing in the dock naked, was jailed at Perth for a further 12 months for breach of the peace. Sheriff MacFarlane was told that the bill for dealing with Gough had cost the public an estimated several hundred thousand pounds. The court heard how Gough had finished a previous jail term at Perth Prison and was released to enjoy freedom for the first time in several months. His freedom lasted less than 30 seconds after he walked naked from the prison door to Edinburgh Road. Gough was also sentenced to four months for refusing to dress before the trial.[10]

While in jail in Perth, on 6 July 2009, Stephen Gough received a visit from two members of the French Association pour la promotion du naturisme en liberté (Association for the Promotion of Naturism in Liberty), which is tracking his activities.[11] On 8 February 2010 Gough was convicted of breach of the peace and contempt of court, charges relating to walking naked in Perth and appearing naked in court. He was sentenced to 21 months imprisonment, his longest sentence to date.[12]

On 25 November 2010 he was found guilty of: on 26 October 2010, conducting himself in a disorderly manner, standing naked at the gates of Perth Prison, refusing to wear any clothing or otherwise cover his genitals and committing a breach of the peace. He was sentenced to 15 months and 26 days. He is understood to spend his time in prison in solitary confinement.[13] He was released on 20 July 2011, but immediately rearrested after leaving the prison naked, and received another 657 day sentence.[14]

From 2012[edit]

When that sentence concluded on 17 July 2012, he left the prison naked again, but this time the police allowed him to go on his way.[15] Three days later, on 20 July, he was rearrested by Fife Police for a breach of the peace in Townhill.[16]

On 13 September 2012 he was sentenced to five months in prison. He had refused to allow social workers to assess his mental health[17] after he broke down in court during an appearance on 23 August.

Released in early October 2012, he walked from Saughton to Edale, Derbyshire during October, continuing across the English border down the Pennine Way to Edale by 31 October, with two arrests en route in Hebden Bridge and Halifax. Released on bail, he continued to walk south and was due back in Court on 5 February 2013 to face public order charges.[18] He was arrested in Carterton, Oxfordshire, on suspicion of outraging public decency on 4 December and was then refused bail and spent Christmas 2012 in jail after his application for bail was refused.[19]

On 19 June 2013 Gough was imprisoned for 11 months for breaching an antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) on 28 February minutes after it was granted, having recently returned home. Gough was not allowed to appear in court as he refused to wear clothes.[20] In January 2014 he was again jailed for breaching his ASBO this time with a sentence of 16 months .[21] On his release from Winchester Prison he walked out wearing only footwear, once again breaching the ASBO, and in October 2014 he was sentenced to a further two and a half years in prison.[22]

On 28 October 2014, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that European laws protecting privacy and freedom of expression did not apply to Gough's naked rambling.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ In praise of... the naked rambler The Guardian, 21 February 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  2. ^ Stop Racist Human Skin Phobia Steve Gough – Naked Rambler. Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Rambler held over mid-air strip", BBC News, 18 May 2006
  4. ^ "Nude rambler won't dress despite latest prison term", The Scotsman, 26 August 2006
  5. ^ "Naked rambler cleared by sheriff", BBC News, 10 April 2007
  6. ^ "Naked rambler jailed for contempt". BBC News. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Naked Rambler free for six steps BBC News, 18 January 2008
  8. ^ Naked rambler cleared of breach BBC News, 14 November 2008
  9. ^ "More jail time for naked rambler", BBC News, 18 December 2008
  10. ^ "Naked rambler is back behind bars", BBC News, 16 July 2009
  11. ^ Association pour la promotion du naturisme en liberté A French forum of Steve Gough supporters. Includes articles written in English.
  12. ^ "Naked rambler's longest sentence", BBC News, 8 February 2010
  13. ^ 'Naked rambler' Stephen Gough sent back to prison, Dundee Courier, 26 November 2010
  14. ^ 'Naked rambler' Steven Gough jailed again
  15. ^ Naked rambler walks free from Perth Prison BBC News, Tayside and Central Scotland, 17 July 2012; retrieved 17 July 2012
  16. ^ Naked rambler Stephen Gough arrested again BBC News, East Fife, 20 July 2012; retrieved 20 July 2012
  17. ^ "Naked Rambler sent back to prison". The Guardian. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "UPDATED: Rambler walking through Halifax town centre naked this afternoon – police arrest him for second time". Halifax Courier. 
  19. ^ Naked rambler Stephen Gough to spend Christmas in jail BBC News.
  20. ^ "'Naked rambler' Stephen Gough jailed for flouting Asbo". BBC News. 19 June 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2013. 
  21. ^ "'Naked rambler' Stephen Gough jailed for Asbo breach". BBC News (BBC). 6 January 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2014. 
  22. ^ "'Naked rambler' Stephen Gough jailed for Asbo breach". BBC News Online. Retrieved 8 October 2014. 
  23. ^ "'Naked Rambler' Stephen Gough Loses Legal Battle to Bare All". NBC News (online). Retrieved 28 October 2014. 

External links[edit]