Naked Rambler doesn’t have mental health issues vows ex-partner who says he’s just “very stubborn”

THE former partner of Naked Rambler Stephen Gough has spoken about the toll his campaign has taken on his health, but said she does not believe he has serious mental health issues.

THE former partner of Naked Rambler Stephen Gough has spoken about the toll his campaign has taken on his health, but said she does not believe he has serious mental health issues.

Gough, 53, is in prison in Fife having been arrested just 73 hours after his last release from Perth Prison in July. In August this year, a sheriff ordered an assessment of Gough’s mental health after convicting him of a breach of the peace.

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Sheriff James Williamson told him: “I have to say, there were certain points in your evidence, certain points in your summing up, where I was a bit concerned about your emotional behaviour. I was a bit concerned as to whether or not you were in control of yourself.

“I want someone independently to see what they make of you and whether or not your mental health is all it should be. Because, unfortunately, in the absence of any good reason otherwise, you’re going to end up serving prison sentence after prison sentence.”

In response to the sheriff’s words, Alison Ward, 47, who lives with the couple’s two children, 16-year-old Kiana and 14-year-old Yarin, in Hampshire, said: “The Scottish authorities would like to find something wrong with Steve, because he has become an embarrassment to them. Keeping a man locked up for 23-and-a-half hours a day because he wants to be naked goes against the country’s desire to be seen as progressive.

“But I don’t think he has any diagnosable mental health problem. He’s tremendously stubborn. He has painted himself into a corner and feels he can’t back down.

“Having said that, I saw a picture of him when he was released and thought he looked ill. Being in solitary has taken its toll. He has spent the past six years in solitary confinement because he won’t put clothes on, which I find inconceivable. The price he’s paid for his determination to go naked is too high.”

Ms Ward added: “I don’t think Steve is a bad person, but he has made bad decisions. I feel very sad for him, for what he has given up. He lost his relationship with me. He has two beautiful children, who are a real joy, but he hasn’t been a father to them.”

Ms Ward said Gough, a former Royal Marine, had been an excellent father. She said his determination to take off his clothes had begun when the family moved to Canada and he began stripping off on walks in the wilderness. On one occasion, he walked to Blockbusters naked to return a DVD.

“He has talked since about having an epiphany, but it’s not something I understand. He went to Canada one man and turned into someone else.”

When Ms Ward decided to leave him, she moved back to England, followed by Gough, who lived a mile away from his family. At first, he continued to see his children regularly, but his determination to take off his clothes became a problem.

“When I told Steve: ‘You can’t see the kids if you’re going to go naked’, he said: ‘Right, I won’t see them.’ He chose his cause over his children and he has continued to do so.”