‘Silent man’ who stands in the middle of busy roads and refuses to speak in protest against traffic ‘deliberately got himself jailed for free meals and a roof over his head’

‘Silent man’ who stands in the middle of busy roads and refuses to speak in protest against traffic ‘deliberately got himself jailed for free meals and a roof over his head’

  • David Hampson, 53, refuses to explain himself to police, judges or psychiatrists
  • In December he blocked De La Beche Street by Swansea Central Police Station
  • His brother, John, says he does it to get free food and a roof over his head  

A criminal jailed nearly a dozen times for standing silently in the middle of roads in Swansea is deliberately getting himself locked up in order to get free meals and a roof over his head, his brother has claimed. 

David Hampson, 53, dubbed the ‘Silent Man’, wages his one-man protests by standing in the middle of busy roads, stubbornly not moving and with his mouth firmly shut.

Hampson’s silence has baffled doctors as he refuses to explain himself to police, judges, or psychiatrists and refused to even speak to confirm his name in court. 

In this last conviction Swansea Crown Court heard he struck again in rush-hour in December – blocking De La Beche Street just yards from Swansea Central Police Station. 

David’s brother, John, said this was all part of a scheme to get free food and accommodation from the state.   

In this last conviction Swansea Crown Court heard he struck again in rush-hour in December - blocking De La Beche Street (pictured) just yards from Swansea Central Police Station

John told the Sun: ‘He’s not really mute. He never stops talking. It is quite simple really. He’s a spoiled brat.

‘There is nothing like a protest going on. He just does it to have a comfy life inside prison.

Previously he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison in 2021 after a jury found he was ‘mute of malice’ not ‘mute by visitation of God’.

Judge Paul Thomas said his silence was ‘breath-taking arrogance and insolence’ when he passed the sentence.  

But after being released from serving his sentence he returned to the road outside the police station and blocked traffic on three occasions – and has now been sent back to jail.

He was arrested again on October 17 after police were called to reports of a man stopping traffic on Grove Place outside Swansea Central police station. 

Lucy Mansfield, prosecuting, said Hampson was taken aside and spoken to but he did ‘not engage with the officers.’

She said: ‘Police advised him to leave the area but he went straight back into the road and so was arrested.’

Hampson appeared before justices the next days charged with obstructing the highway but refused to speak.

He was bailed pending a trial and left the court building and went back to standing in the road. He was arrested again, charged, and remanded into custody ahead of a trial.

Hampson, of no fixed address, again refused to speak when he appeared in the dock for his trial this week, did not challenge the prosecution case or put forward any defence, and was convicted of two counts of obstructing the highway.

He was sentenced to six months in prison. The 53-year-old will serve up to half the sentence in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

His first conviction was in 2014 – then others in 2016, 2017 and 2018 with ten in total. He speaks to prison officers but refuses with police, court and doctors.

A judge ordered a psychiatric report be made into Hampson’s bizarre behaviour – but he refused to speak to the doctors.

The doctor concluded that though Hampson’s mutism was ‘selective and deliberate’ there may be social or financial ‘stresses’ that contributed to his decision not to talk.

But the doctor said he was not able to diagnose any psychiatric or other condition – and did not need to be remanded to a hospital.

John, from Swansea, said: ‘There is nothing wrong with him. He acts dumb but I can tell you that he is not.’

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Perkin Amalaraj

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