Stephen Gough, a former Royal Marine and truck driver, has been released from prison after serving six years for his refusal to wear any clothes. Dubbed the ‘naked rambler’, the 53 year old was first detained by police when he attempted to make the walk from Land’s End in England to John O’Groats in Scotland, completely nude, in 2003.
Having spent the last six years in prison as a result of what he described as his “vocation”, Gough was freed from Perth Prison on Tuesday. The police spoke with him briefly outside the prison but did not arrest him, for once — on his previous release, he was-rearrested in less than 60 seconds.
Gough was positive about the turn-around from the authorities: “My opinion is that the police have thought, the guy’s not going to give up so let’s have a think about it. Something has changed and it is good for me.”
Andy McCann, the Chief Inspector of Perth police said to the Scottish paper Daily Record, “We have been working closely with our partners in law enforcement and the individual concerned in an effort to resolve this impasse.
In Perth Prison, Gough spent much of his sentence in solitary confinement, kept away from many of the other prisoners and given only half an hour to shower and walk up and down the hall.
With his newly found freedom, one of his first wishes is to see his two children: “I haven’t seen my kids for ages. My children are teenagers…so I expect they are embarrassed by me. If I was them and the tables were turned and my dad was walking round naked, I suppose I would be embarrassed.””
The cost of repeatedly arresting, sentencing and jailing Gough has been estimated to be over $780,000, reports the Daily Record.
Gough is keen to continue with his naked walking though, in spite of the troubles he has faced. He describes his stance towards no clothes as being about “individual freedom” and added that he had no regrets:
“To conform with everyone else is the easiest way but when you conform you compromise your principles. I am not going to give up. Stay naked is the word.”