Man who brought M1 to a standstill for 28 hours jailed for two years
A man who cost the economy £28 million when he brought the M1 to a standstill for 28 hours by climbing onto a gantry has been jailed for two years.
Nicholas Muton, 45, carried out the one-man protest because he had a grudge with the police for not investigating a complaint he made about childhood abuse.
A court heard he scaled a gantry over the southbound carriageway of the M1 motorway which was forced to close from Junctions 23a to 22.
His actions brought the motorway to a standstill for 28 hours between Sunday June 12 and Monday June 13 this year.
Muton, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance when he appeared at Leicester Crown Court today (Friday).
Jailing him for two years, Judge Adrienne Lucking QC said his actions were “a childish response to your beef with the police”.
She added: “Your actions affected not only the economy but the personal lives of other people.
“You knew it had the capacity to cause personal distress to other people who had nothing to do with any of your issues with the police.
“There were reports on social media about hundreds of people missing their holiday flights from East Midlands Airport.
“A very clear message must be sent in terms of the emergency services who are hard pressed to respond to genuine emergencies and accidents.”
Judge Lucking said the diversion from the M1 resulted in up to four-and-a-half hour delays for traffic.
She said it had a “catastrophic impact” causing the East Midlands road network to be gridlocked with 98,000 vehicles affected, not including the 60,000 to 80,000 people who attended the Download Festival at nearby Castle Donington.
The court heard police had to close part of the southbound carriageway of the M1 while negotiators tried to talk Muton down.
It was estimated the closure of the motorway cost the wider economy at least £1 million an hour.
At a previous hearing at Leicester Magistrates Court, prosecutor Kwok Wan told a district judge: “It lead to the motorway being closed for 28 hours.
“It is estimated that costs of £1 million were incurred by the emergency services.
“Whereas it is estimated that the cost to the wider economy is in the region of £28 million. But that could rise.”
The court heard Muton has made 34 complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, including 19 in the last two years.
He was also angry over claims he was “electrocuted” by a taser whilst in custody after he was arrested for threatening to jump off a bridge in 2007.