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£315 fine for man who walked naked on Otley Chevin
8:05am Thursday 16th February 2012 in Local news
A man who rambled through a beauty spot naked except for a backpack, boots and a baseball cap has been fined £315.
Nigel Keer, 41, was found guilty at Leeds Magistrates’ Court of a public order offence after causing distress to a woman who was walking her dog.
The committed naturist kept score of the number of positive reactions versus adverse reactions he received on his naked tea-time stroll at Otley Chevin on October 2 last year.
The court heard the score was 15-0 in his favour until an off-duty police officer apprehended him after seeing a woman looking at Keer with a “disgusted frown”.
Pc Mark Buxton arrested Keer and ordered him to get dressed, which he did.
Pc Buxton told the court: “She had a disgusted frown across her face. I saw her turning around, I could tell she was upset about something.”
On seeing Keer walking naked through the fields, Pc Buxton said he did not believe what he initially saw and carried on running before doing a double-take. "I was so shocked and surprised and to some degree alarmed by what I had just seen," he said.
Keer, from Cottingley, Leeds, maintained throughout the trial that he did not mean to cause distress or provoke a reaction and said "being naked is not an offence". He added that he did not believe that the woman referred to by Pc Buxton existed.
Judge Christopher Darnton said: "I do accept that Mr Keer is a naturist but I note with some interest that he would not walk with his clothes off in the city centre of Leeds. On this occasion a lady was clearly distressed by what she had seen going on."
Keer, who is unemployed, told Mr Buxton about his scoring system after he was arrested.
He told the court: "It was just something I decided to do to pass the time. I thought 'Let's just see if I do get any negatives'.
"I still don't believe I do it (walk naked) to get any reactions, I do it because I enjoy being naked on a hot day."
Prosecutor Catherine Dowson told the judge: "This is an exercise in pure attention-seeking and indulgence.
"The fact that the defendant is gauging his reactions is indicative of that."
The court heard that Keer has been a keen naturist since 2004 and had raised money for charity through completing the Three Peaks challenge naked as well as attending naked bicycle rides across the country.
He said people reacted well "98% or 99% of the time".
"I get a lot of positive reactions," he said.
"People say 'Good for you', and I get a lot of thumbs-up and waves."
Speaking outside court after the verdict, Keer said: "I'm not happy with the decision and I plan to appeal.
"It's not right and I will be appealing.
"I'll be carrying on being a naturist.
"I like to go to places where it's less busy for obvious reasons, but Otley Chevin I don't think is inappropriate.
"The surprise of seeing a naturist whilst you're out walking I don't think would be much more different to seeing a steam train on the East Coast Main Line.
"I still don't think I've done anything illegal."