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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 18:38 GMT 19:38 UK
Man guilty of M1 delays
Jam on M1
Massive tailbacks were caused on the motorway
A man has been found guilty of causing misery to thousands of motorists after he held up motorway traffic for eight hours in a "puerile hissy fit".

Nicholas Muton climbed onto the M1 with a noose around his neck, smoking cigarettes and swearing at police officers who tried to coax him down.

A woman missed spending a final day with her terminally ill mother and a three-week-old baby had to be airlifted out of the traffic chaos during the incident which gridlocked the motorway.

Muton, 32, was remanded into custody for pre-sentence reports on Tuesday after a jury at Leicester Crown Court took just 10 minutes to find him guilty of causing a public nuisance.

Judge Michael Stokes QC told him he was likely to face a custodial sentence after his "unacceptable behaviour".

Nicholas Muton
The inconvenience and danger, possibly life-threatening danger, that he caused to other ordinary decent members of the public is almost incalculable
Prosecutor Michael Auty

He said: "It is my clear view that what you were about was nothing more than selfish and self-indulgent behaviour which caused immense problems and indeed danger to thousands of people."

Muton, of Anstey, Leicestershire, was upset with his ex-partner and solicitors after an allegation of child abuse against him, which was not proceeded with, was brought up in a family court hearing.

On the morning of 14 September last year he called police to tell them there was going to be a protest and said something about a public hanging.

By 1130 BST he had climbed on to the motorway bridge on the A47 with a packet of cigarettes, a lighter, a mobile phone and a bottle of water.

He said he was planning to commit suicide but changed his mind when he was on the bridge.

Thousands of cars were left stuck in traffic as police brought the motorway to a standstill while they tried to talk him down.

Russian roulette

Michael Auty, prosecuting, said: "The inconvenience and danger, possibly life-threatening danger, that he caused to other ordinary decent members of the public is almost incalculable.

"People can be upset and they have a right to be upset when things don't go their way.

"What is required is that they behave appropriately and responsibly, not having a puerile hissy fit as if they were four-years-old, playing Russian roulette with the lives of innocent people."

The case was adjourned for sentencing on 4 August.

Hanging threat gridlocked motorway
23 Jun 03  |  Leicestershire

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