Shard climber admits he was lucky not to be arrested

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The free climber who scaled The Shard has apologised for any disruption he caused, but insisted the feat had a “philanthropic” purpose.

George King, 19, from Oxford, appeared on Good Morning Britain after climbing the 310-metre (1,017ft) building on Monday, and admitted he was lucky not to have been arrested.

He told the programme: “Of course I take full responsibility. I do apologise if I disrupted anyone’s commute time. However I would hope people see the philanthropic purpose of it.

“To inspire people to chase their dreams. Not necessarily to climb The Shard, but to do something unique. That doesn’t have to be climbing without a rope, to find something unique if it’s music, art, craft, whatever it is, to pursue it with excellence and to have a dream.”

Mr King was spoken to by Metropolitan Police officers but not arrested, and admitted that he is lucky not to be facing criminal charges.

In 2012 the owners of The Shard secured an injunction to stop Alain Robert, known as the French Spiderman, climbing the tower.

When he later climbed Heron Tower, covered by City of London Police rather than the Met, he was arrested on suspicion of causing public nuisance and later given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to pay £5,500 in compensation.

Mr King, who is from Oxford, said: “I got very lucky, but I think it’s more the fact that I took precautions to reduce the cause and effect. I did it at five o’clock in the morning when it was less busy, and also the fact that I did it in 45 minutes.”

Describing his interaction with police, he said: “They were brilliant. I think they were just more shocked than anything. It’s just not a normal Monday morning for anyone.

“They saw light in it, some saw light in it, but of course they had their concerns and I had my justifications.”

The teenager told the programme his mother found out what he had done while listening to the news on the radio.

“It didn’t come as a surprise to her at all, she knew something was up. With one month to go I was very much in the zone, my diet changes a bit. She knew something was happening but she just didn’t know what it was.

“(She was) very happy that I’m OK but at the same time, ‘don’t do it again’. She understands how much meaning it gives to me, how much I prepare, how much I train for it.”

Seven of his friends were accomplices helping him “gather intelligence” before attempting the climb, and he checked the weather forecast for two weeks beforehand.

GMB host Piers Morgan was left waxing lyrical that Mr King was an “old-fashioned daredevil”, “an exceptional young man” and his spirit was “what made this country great”.

Asked what his plans are next, Mr King said: “I’m going to sit back, have a cup of tea, chill for a bit. A project will turn up.

“I’m just going to see how it goes. Something will pop up and I will pursue it with excellence like I have done with the preparations for The Shard.”

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