LONDON – A British man who has spent most of the past decade naked — and in jail — was back behind bars Friday after defying an order to cover up.
Stephen Gough, known as the “Naked Rambler,” was arrested Thursday as he left a court in Southampton, southern England, wearing only boots, socks and a knapsack.
A judge had just imposed an order that he must “wear sufficient clothing in public to at least cover his genitalia and buttocks.”
The 54-year-old former Royal Marine appeared at the same court Friday, and was ordered detained until a hearing on March 25.
Since 2003 Gough has completed two naked walks the length of Britain, with frequent interruptions for arrests, court appearances and jail time.
Prosecution lawyer Roger Trencher said Friday that Gough “has caused much offence nationwide and he has used a considerable amount of police time in England, Wales and Scotland.”
Gough has said he believes nudity is a human right. Defence lawyer Jeffrey Norie-Mille told the court that Gough “believes it is his right not to wear clothes and go about his normal activities in that state of undress.”
There is no law in Britain against public nudity. However, there are laws against indecent exposure or behaviour likely to cause “harassment, alarm or distress.”
Gough has served multiple sentences for appearing nude in public places including courts and an airplane.
He could face up to five years in jail for breaching the no-nudity command, known as an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.