Height of stupidity? Daring free climber makes it to the top of The Shard

Adam Lockwood, 21, takes a selfie at the top of The Shard with no safety restraints - Adam Lockwood / Animal News Agency
Adam Lockwood, 21, takes a selfie at the top of The Shard with no safety restraints – Adam Lockwood / Animal News Agency

His previous antics have been branded the “height of stupidity”, motivated by “arrogance and a “greed for celebrity”.

However, such condemnation did not stop Adam Lockwood, a 21-year-old free climber, from risking his own life and others to scale The Shard at dawn on Sunday, triumphantly posing for a selfie at the top.

The timing is unlikely to have been a coincidence.

In July 2019, Manchester City Council secured a three-year anti-social behaviour injunction order against Lockwood, prohibiting him from climbing buildings and cranes, riding on the exterior of buses, trams and trains and entering construction sites in England and Wales.

Having breached the order on multiple occasions, he was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, in August 2020.

In mitigation, his solicitor said his client was motivated by seeking celebrity and financial reward from YouTube. “It’s all about YouTube hits,” he said. “YouTube pay.”

With both injunction and sentence recently expired, Lockwood was ready to scale Britain’s tallest building.

Lockwood reaches the very top of The Shard - 1000 feet above the capital - Lucas Cannon
Lockwood reaches the very top of The Shard – 1000 feet above the capital – Lucas Cannon

The police were called at 5.38am following reports of a climber on the Shard. London Ambulance Service and the London Fire Brigade also attended.

Several cordons were put in place around the base of the building, with rail passengers leaving the nearby London Bridge station diverted to other exits.

At 6.50am, Lockwood posted a photograph on his Facebook page. Topless and barefoot, he wore a headcam as he balanced 1,000ft above London.

Scotland Yard later confirmed that three men had been arrested, one on suspicion of trespass and two for causing public nuisance. On Monday night, they all remained in custody.

Lockwood, from Manchester, has climbed some of the tallest buildings and structures in the world, dangling from the rafters of the 262ft San Siro Stadium in Milan, performing pull ups from a 1,115ft tall beam at a power station in Croatia and posing as a workman to scale a 1,200ft crane in Dubai.

He refuses to use safety restraints, relying solely on his grip and upper body strength to stop him falling.

‘My brain is blank, my heartbeat doesn’t go up’

He once revealed that during such climbs, “my brain is blank, my heartbeat doesn’t go up, and it feels almost peaceful.”

On July 31, he posted a cryptic message on Facebook: “Working on something that actually scares me a little just to think about, I can’t wait.”

Then, on August 16, as he prepared for the death defying stunt, he appeared to allude to the fact that it could go horribly wrong. He wrote that before leaving the planet, he wanted to say only one thing.

“No matter how outrageous your passion or your goal or a dream might be, do not let anyone, no family, no friends, no government, no establishment, absolutely nobody, stop you from persuing (sic) what you want to do, no matter how difficult, scary, stupid or risky it might seem to other people,” he wrote.

Several cordens were placed around the building, with passengers coming out of London Bridge station diverted to other exits - JAMES J. MARLOW
Several cordens were placed around the building, with passengers coming out of London Bridge station diverted to other exits – JAMES J. MARLOW

“If you truly and genuinely believe in yourself and in what you’re doing, it shouldn’t have to make sense to anyone else, not a single person should come in your way.”

He said he had spent the last four or five years fighting for his freedom and his “right to be happy” but urged his followers to “fight until you have nothing left, because that’s all you take with you when you die.”

In 2019, George King-Thompson was sentenced to six months at a young offenders’ institute for scaling the Shard.

He almost reached the top of the building in just 45 minutes, using no equipment.

King-Thompson admitted contempt of court by breaching an injunction to deter trespassers.

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