American tourist who climbed into Royal Mews is spared jail
Drunken American tourist, 25, who climbed into Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace and hid in stable sparking huge security alert is spared jail
- Mustafa Awad was arrested in September after breaking into the protected site
A drunken American tourist who climbed into the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, sparking a huge security alert, was spared jail today after spending seven weeks in custody.
Mustafa Awad, 25, was on a 10-day trip to the UK when he was arrested after breaking into the King’s official residence in the early hours of September 16.
Awad filmed himself on his phone saying ‘the King is asleep’ before he was found hiding in the paddocks, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard.
The computer engineer for Apple was arrested on September 16 in the Royal Mews area, next to the palace, following reports that a person had been seen climbing the wall at 1.25am.
He was fined £1000, and will have to pay a victim surcharge of £400 and costs of £85, following his ‘stupid, drunken mistake’ to trespass on a protected site.
A drunken American tourist who climbed into the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, sparking a huge security alert, was spared jail today
The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace is responsible for the King’s road travel arrangements and is home to the Gold State Coach, which has been used at every coronation since that of William IV.
Antonia Gray, defending, said Awad was drunk at the time.
‘This is a 25-year-old man who behaved in an immature, reckless and foolish way. I hope you accept that this was drunken behaviour.
‘He accepts that he caused a huge amount of concern. It was a great nuisance, no more than that.’
Ms Gray said Awad, who works as a computer engineer for Apple, has already spent seven weeks in custody.
‘He has had seven weeks to reflect on the behaviour that led to his incarceration for such a lengthy period of time.’
Awad had arrived in the UK for a 10-day trip on 7 September and had been planning to fly to Spain the following day.
Earlier prosecutor Rhianne Neil said: ‘On 16 September, just before 1.30am, a member of the public called the police stating they had seen a man climbing the wall on Grosvenor Road bordering The Royal Mews.
‘The suspect was then seen inside the grounds and filming with a mobile phone.
Awad filmed himself on his phone saying ‘the King is asleep’ before he was found hiding in the paddocks, Westminster Magistrates’ Court heard
‘Officers attended the scene at around 2:30am and found the defendant hiding in the corner of the paddock with a horse.’
Awad was taken into custody and gave a prepared statement stating he had climbed the wall to take photos and wanted to get a better angle.
While scaling the wall he claimed he fell and injured himself and couldn’t get back over it.
Upon arrest Awad was found with two passports – from Ecuador and Spain – an iPhone, cash, and a battery pack to charge his phone.
Officers at the royal residence responded, the Metropolitan Police said, and, following a search, Mustafa was detained outside the stables.
Awad Mustafa, 25, was arrested on September 16 in the Royal Mews area, next to the palace, following reports that a person had been seen climbing the wall at 1.25am (stock photo)
Mustafa, of no fixed address, did not enter the palace or its gardens at any time, the force added.
Sentencing Awad, District Judge Daniel Sternberg said: ‘In the early hours of that day you climbed over a wall on Buckingham Palace Road.’
‘You were seen on CCTV filming using your mobile phone.’
‘Police officers arrived and found you hiding in one of the stables.’
His phone and other property was seized and analyzed, which showed he had been filming.
‘You can be heard saying ‘the King is asleep’ [in one of the videos].’
‘You are a relatively young man of previous good character. By pleading guilty you have lost that good character.
‘It seems that there was some planning involved on your part.’
‘The harm comes from breaching the confines of the Royal Palace.’
‘You made a very stupid, drunken mistake, and I am dealing with you on that basis. You need to understand that if there is any repetition of this behavior on your part it is extremely unlikely that you would be dealt with in such a lenient way again. It is highly likely that you would face an immediate custodial sentence.’
Awad, who gave his address as Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge, was fined £1,000 and must also pay a £400 victim surcharge with £85 in prosecution costs.
He earlier admitted one count of trespass on a protected site.
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