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Climber who scaled The Shard unaided is detained

  • 21 October 2019
George King Image copyright INSTAGRAM/@powers.of.passion Image caption George King-Thompson admitted being in breach of an injunction designed to deter trespassers

A free-solo climber who scaled one of Europe's tallest buildings unaided has been detained for six months.

George King-Thompson, from Oxford, climbed the 310-metre (1,017ft) Shard skyscraper in London on 8 July.

The 20-year-old was given a police caution at the time but the building's owners began legal proceedings against him for breaching an injunction.

King-Thompson appeared at the High Court where he admitted being in contempt of court.

London Bridge Station was briefly closed when the 20-year-old took 45 minutes to make the free-solo climb - without ropes or protective equipment - at about 05:00 BST.

Image copyright PA Media Image caption King-Thompson was given a police caution but not arrested at the time of the climb

David Forsdick QC, representing The Shard's owners Teighmore Limited, earlier told the court that King-Thompson had been planning the climb for about eight months, including moving to east London and visiting the building up to 200 times "specifically to prepare" for it.

In his written case, he said the 20-year-old "knew of The Shard injunction" and "recognised that the climb was illegal" by using the hashtag "rooftopillegal" when he posted a video of his efforts on Instagram.

The climb was also a "highly dangerous trespass, both to him [King-Thompson] and potentially to members of the emergency services and the public if he had fallen", Mr Forsdick said.

Image caption King-Thompson, seen here during a previous climb, had not been seeking "fame or notoriety", the court heard

Philip McGhee, for King-Thompson, told the court his client "wishes to make an unreserved apology for his actions" including to those who were "inconvenienced" by London Bridge Station being closed.

He explained the free-solo climber had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and had not been seeking "fame or notoriety", but had "laudable aims" to "inspire others".

"Mr King-Thompson will not climb another building in the UK. He very much regrets and is very sorry for doing what he did," he said.

Sentencing him to six months in a young offenders institution, Mr Justice Murray said the defendant's breach of the order, which was designed to deter trespassers, had been "deliberate and knowing".

He said despite King-Thompson's "young age and previous good character, it is not a sentence I am able to suspend".

Real Estate Management (UK) Limited which manages The Shard, said it hoped "today's outcome will deter other prospective climbers, and help them recognise the great dangers that these actions pose".

Related Topics

More on this story

  • The Shard: Free-climber spotted scaling London landmark
    8 July 2019

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  • HM Courts & Tribunals Service

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