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Once the remission rules are taken into account, that is the equivalent of a sentence of nearly 18 years. It is about what you would expect to get if you committed a rape of an eight year old child. By my very rough calculations the cost of imprisoning him, ignoring altogether legal and police costs, has been about £330,000. His offence has been that he won't wear clothes in public.
The Scottish Daily Mail -
IN A FEW days a middle-
‘I told him, You can’t see the children’
‘When I told Steve, “You can’t see the kids if you’re going to go naked”, he said, “Right, I won’t see them”.’ But Gough was largely seen as a harmless British eccentric – the latest in a long line – as, rucksack on his back, boots on his feet and nothing on in between, he trudged through the countryside, chatting to anyone who took an interest. Sometimes, when the police stopped him, he would explain what he was doing and put his clothes on if they ordered him to. They would come off again a few hundred yards further on. Only when Gough reached Scotland did the real problems begin. As he progressed north he was picked up several times and finally convicted of breach of the peace, resulting in a four-
Does obstinacy merit wretched existence in jail?
‘Cost of keeping him in prison has been £330,000’
When he was released, he pressed on, finally reaching John o’ Groats on January 22, 2004, where he was met by a massive media scrum and staff from a local hotel bearing champagne. ‘It was a great feeling,’ said Gough. ‘I thought that was the end.’ Perhaps it should have been. He had certainly offended some on his travels, but he had won admirers too and sparked a nationwide debate which attracted much sympathy for his position. What was intrinsically wrong, he asked, with appearing in public in the same naked state as that in which everyone is born? Why do we stigmatise nudity so? Gough’s problem as he returned home to Eastleigh and tried to write a book about the experience was the voice inside him which told him he had compromised his ideals. ‘Why did I put on clothes when the police stopped me?’ he asked himself. ‘That was wrong; it defeated the whole point.’ Ever since, Gough has refused to compromise. As he puts it today: ‘Little pockets of freedom are all well and good, but it’s like having an inconsistent parent that allows you to be a certain way, at certain times, but then turns the other way and punishes you for exactly the same behaviour.’ His solution was to do the walk all over again – this time without compromise. There was another difference too. He was accompanied on this walk by his new girlfriend, Melanie Roberts, another committed naturist. Once again, it was Scotland which proved the hardest-
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