Teenager who climbed Shard locked up for 24 weeks

21 October 2019, 15:27

The 19-year-old scaled the Shard in July
The 19-year-old scaled the Shard in July. Picture: George King

By Megan White

A teenager who scaled the Shard has been sentenced to 24 weeks in custody for breaching an injunction.

George King-Thompson, 20, climbed the UK’s highest skyscraper, which stands at 310 metres, without ropes in July.

It took him 45 minutes to reach the top, where he was met by police but not arrested.

London Bridge Station was briefly closed and King-Thompson later received a police caution after he was spotted on the side of the skyscraper at around 5am on July 8.

He appeared at the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday for civil proceedings brought by the building’s owners, Teighmore Ltd.

Thhey brought legal proceedings against him for breaching an injunction designed to deter trespassers, which was made by the High Court last year.

King-Thompson admitted being in contempt of court.

Imposing an immediate custodial sentence, Mr Justice Murray said King-Thompson's breach of the order was "deliberate and knowing" and that "he would have walked past at least 10 copies" of the order during his climb.

The judge added that "iconic buildings are sometimes the targets of terrorists", and that "information regarding ways into and around the building" could increase the risk to people living and working inside.

Sentencing King-Thompson to six months in a young offenders institution, he said that "despite his young age and previous good character, it is not a sentence I am able to suspend".

King-Thompson, wearing a blue tie, white shirt and red shirt, showed no emotion as he was handcuffed and led away to the cells of the Royal Courts of Justice.

David Forsdick QC, representing Teighmore, earlier told the court that the teen had spent around eight months planning his climb, had moved to east London "specifically to prepare" and visited The Shard up to 200 times, sometimes wearing disguises.

Mr Forsdick said the climber was aware of the injunction and "consciously and deliberately did what he knew was a breach of it, knowing that that could result in imprisonment".

In his written case, Mr Forsdick said that King-Thompson "recognised that the climb was illegal" by using the hashtag "rooftopillegal" when posting a video of the climb on Instagram.

He added that the climb was a "highly dangerous trespass, both to him and potentially to members of the emergency services and the public if he had fallen".

Philip McGhee, for King-Thompson, told the court: "He wishes to make an unreserved apology for his actions, and that is an apology to the court first and foremost."

He added that King-Thompson also wished to repeat his earlier apology to any commuters who might have been "inconvenienced" by London Bridge Station being closed, and to the police and ambulance services which attended The Shard.

He explained that King-Thompson had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and that, when he was "meticulously preparing and planning" the climb, he developed "almost an obsessive focus on the detail".

He said his client is "not in this for fame or notoriety, whatever might be thought by some", and that he had "laudable aims" to "inspire others".

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

A spokesperson from Real Estate Management (UK) Limited, who manage the building, said: “Mr. George King-Thompson has today been found to be in contempt of court for breaching the terms of an injunction set by the High Court in 2018 when he climbed The Shard earlier this year.

"We felt we had no option than to secure the injunction and ask the court to uphold it.

"We hope that today’s outcome will deter other prospective climbers, and help them recognise the great dangers that these actions pose to the public, emergency services and themselves.”