Nude rambler addresses a court - naked

The naked rambler Stephen Gough arrives at Calderdale Magistrates Court.
The naked rambler Stephen Gough arrives at Calderdale Magistrates Court.

A man stood naked in the dock at Calderdale Magistrates’ Court charged with a public order offence.

Stephen Gough, 53, dubbed the “Naked Rambler” was arrested in October at Bull Green, Halifax, while walking in the nude.

He denies a charge of using behaviour which could cause harassment, alarm or distress.

District Judge Adrian Lower, after hearing evidence and seeing film footage, reserved judgment until March 11.

Christopher Tehrani, prosecuting, read out statements from witnesses who expressed outrage at seeing Gough naked in Halifax town centre.

Zoe Noel was with several children and said: “I could not believe my eyes. I was disgusted by what I saw. I felt sick and angry. He was smiling as if he was proud of himself.”

Jennifer Norcliffe was in her car by Halifax Police Station when Gough turned around wearing boots/socks, a hat and carrying a rucksack on his back.

“I could see he was naked and thought `Oh my God` and it went through my mind has he mental health issues or is he drunk,” she said in her statement.

“I was alarmed and distressed by what I saw. I did not feel safe getting out of my car.”

A film company following Gough filmed him walking from the police station to Bull Green.

Gough, a father-of-two, of East Leigh, Hampshire, was allowed into the court naked with the court’s blessing.

He started nude walking about 10 years ago to challenge people’s thinking and became emotional when he talked about what he does.

“I am challenging ingrain beliefs. We are taught indirectly you should not walk around with no clothes on. To act in shame is to teach shame.”

The court was told Gough had been arrested the previous day in Hebden Bridge town centre and had been carrying clothes in his rucksack.

Mr Tehrani told Gough he was being prosecuted for the reaction from members of the public who do not share his views.

Andy Pilkington, mitigating, said Gough’s behaviour was not threatening and he will keep going until he no longer has to challenge people’s beliefs.

“He is not violent - all he does is walk naked,” he said.