‘Naked Rambler’ Finally Runs Free

Stephen Gough has spent much of the last decade in jail because he just does not like to wear clothes.

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Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

Naked rambler Stephen Gough as seen on his walk to John O'Groats from Land's End at Marazion, England, June 17, 2005.

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.

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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.

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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.”

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Maria Hanks
Maria Hanks

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Brian Taylor; British Naturism
Brian Taylor; British Naturism

At last common sense has prevailed!  Although Steve has somewhat extreme views - most Naturists wouldn't attempt to be naked ALL the time - just who has he harmed that he deserved to spend six years of his life in prison?  I just hope the Scottish police think twice before arresting someone for simply being naked in future.

There is an important principle in law that was eloquently stated by Roy Jenkins when he was Home Secretary: "If you want to stop people doing something which they enjoy doing, which they believe is within their liberty of action, then you've got to have an overwhelming social case. If you're going to stop them, you shouldn't do it out of prejudice or out of habit, but only because you can show that a definite social evil results."

Thank goodness the Scottish police have managed to break this habit and overcome their prejudice...