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Last Updated: Monday, 23 June, 2003, 16:36 GMT 17:36 UK
Hanging threat gridlocked motorway
Court graphic
A man caused "incalculable" chaos on the M1 by threatening to hang himself from a bridge, a court heard on Monday.

A three-week-old baby had to be airlifted out and a woman missed spending a last day with her dying mother while Nicholas Muton stood smoking and drinking, Leicester Crown Court was told.

It was said he stood on the wrong side of the safety barrier with a noose around his neck swearing at police who tried to coax him down.

The incident happened on 14 September last year after Mr Muton, of Anstey, Leicestershire, had a row with his wife and solicitors over the break-up of his marriage.

Diabetics at risk

Thousands of innocent people were left stuck on the motorway for more than nine hours while the 32-year-old had a "puerile hissy fit, playing Russian roulette with the lives of innocent people", said Michael Auty, prosecuting.

He had gone to the offices of the Leicester Mercury newspaper, where he delivered a file of papers before phoning police.

Mr Auty told a jury at Leicester Crown Court: "The inconvenience and danger, possibly life-threatening danger, that he caused to other ordinary, innocent members of the public, is almost incalculable."

He said at least two diabetic people were stuck in the delays in the traffic for more than eight hours and nearly went into hypoglycaemic comas.

Extra calls

Another woman was travelling to see her terminally ill mother in Leeds and missed spending her last day with her, as she died the following day.

Another man had a three-week-old baby in the car who had to be airlifted from the mayhem .

Mr Auty said that police usually received around 750 non-emergency calls on a Saturday but on that day they received 1,000 extra calls.

Mr Muton denies causing a public nuisance.

Mr Muton has asked us to point out that he is not married, and was not married at any time before this court hearing.

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