Teen free climber sentenced after breaching City Council injunction

  • Thursday 13 August 2020

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Cllr Nigel Murphy quote

Cllr Nigel Murphy quote

A teenage free climber described by a judge as “stupid” and “greedy” has been handed a suspended sentence after continuing to risk his life scaling tall buildings.

Adam Lockwood, 19, of Wigan was last week given a suspended sentence following his breach of an injunction order which banned him from trespassing and posting content online.

In July 2019 Manchester City Council secured a three year anti-social behaviour injunction order against Lockwood which prohibited him from climbing buildings and cranes, riding on the exterior of buses, trams and trains and entering construction sites in England and Wales. This was a result of the defendant gaining notoriety online after posting videos of himself risking his life, and the lives of others, by hanging off the sides of buildings and cranes in Manchester.

He was also banned from uploading videos to social media filmed when trespassing on private property.

In spite of this, the self-proclaimed ‘Little Nuisance’ was found to have breached this order three times in a matter of weeks this year. At a hearing on August 6 at Manchester County Court, it was heard that on June 7 he stood on the roof of the Arndale Food Court entrance during the Black Lives Matter protest, and then on June 16 he dangled from the edge of a 600ft balcony at the Madison Building in London’s Canary Wharf. On both occasions footage of this was uploaded to the internet.

A particularly unpleasant breach followed on July 5 when out of the blue Lockwood left an extremely abusive message on a Council answering machine, saying that a Council officer should be “shanked up” in the street.

In mitigation Lockwood’s solicitor said that seeking celebrity and financial reward from YouTube was the goal behind his client’s stunts, saying “It’s all about YouTube hits. YouTube pay.”

District Judge Lindsay Clarke sentenced Lockwood to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for two years. Commenting on the sentence Judge Clarke condemned Lockwood’s “deliberate, knowing and wilful” breach of his order, the fact that they were clearly premeditated, and adding that promoting his stunts during a pandemic was the “height of stupidity” and motivated by “arrogance” and a “greed for celebrity.”

He was also ordered to pay costs of £255, subject to an assessment of his means.

It is thought to be the first time anti-social behaviour legislation has been used to tackle free climbing behaviour of this kind.

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “As the judge in this case highlighted, the actions of Lockwood were motivated solely by greed and his ambition to aggrandise himself. These actions under normal circumstances are incredibly dangerous and not only put his life in danger, but the lives of other people. However, to do this during a pandemic, when emergency services and council staff are already stretched to their limit defies all logic.

“Our staff do an incredibly tough job at times and they do not deserve to be targeted with verbal abuse and threats of violence from people like Lockwood. I am glad that our anti-social behaviour team and legal staff were able to secure this conviction.”

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