Eastleigh's Stephen Gough sat nude in dock for court hearing

Stephen Gough

Stephen Gough

First published in News

A sheriff today ordered an assessment of the mental health of the Eastleigh man dubbed the Naked Rambler after convicting him of a breach of the peace.

Stephen Gough, 53, who represented himself, sat naked in the dock at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court in Fife throughout his two-hour trial on the single charge, which centred on his actions days after he was last released from prison.

Gough was convicted of committing a breach of the peace on July 20 by walking naked in a public place near a children's play park in the Townhill area of Dunfermline, Fife.

He has spent much of the past six years in prison on similar charges.

Sheriff James Williamson deferred sentence on Gough until next month, and ordered social workers to produce a report independently assessing Gough's emotional and mental health.

Gough, who has long fought for his right to appear naked in public, appeared tearful at points during the hearing when witnesses recalled their shock and discomfort upon seeing the unclothed man in their community.

His voice cracked as he told the court: "There is nothing about me as a human being that is indecent or alarming or offensive."

Sheriff Williamson later expressed his concern about the accused's demeanour, after finding the charge against him proved beyond reasonable doubt. He did so after Gough told him he had no intention of changing his ways and did not believe he was doing anything wrong.

The sheriff told Gough: "I have to say, there were certain points in your evidence, certain points in your summing up, where I was a bit concerned about your emotional behaviour. I was a bit concerned as to whether or not you were in control of yourself.

"What I'm going to do, and you may not understand this, is defer sentence at this stage for a criminal justice social work report. I want someone independently to see what they make of you and whether or not your mental health is all it should be.

"Because unfortunately, in the absence of any good reason otherwise, you're going to end up serving prison sentence after prison sentence."

Gough will be sentenced at the same court on September 13.

 Gough was remanded in custody until next month's sentencing hearing.

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