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'Puerile hissy fit' heaped misery on M1 motorists.

A man was found guilty yesterday of causing misery to thousands of motorists after he held up motorway traffic for eight hours in a 'puerile hissy fit'.

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

A woman missed the last day with her dying 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 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 and selfish behaviour'.

Muton, of Anstey, Leicestershire, was aggrieved with his expartner 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 September 14 last year he called police to tell them there was going to be a protest and said something about a public hanging.

By 11.30am 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.

Two people who were diabetic were caught up in the delays for more than eight hours and nearly went into comas, the court heard.

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

A three-week-old baby had to be airlifted from the mayhem after it became dehydrated, and a pregnant woman was terrified that she would be forced to give birth in the traffic jam.

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 fouryears-old, playing Russian roulette with the lives of innocent people.'

The case was adjourned for sentencing on August 4.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 25, 2003
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