Pink Floyd star's son jailed in drug craze riot
Published 16/07/2011 | 05:00
THE son of the Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour gave a final defiant wave as he was led away to start a lengthy prison sentence for a drink- and drug-fuelled rampage during last year's tuition fees protests in London.
Charlie Gilmour, who was famously photographed hanging from the Cenotaph monument during the December 9 demo, was given a 16-month sentence for two counts of violent disorder at Kingston Crown Court in Surrey yesterday.
His mother, the author Polly Samson, fought back tears as Judge Nicholas Price handed down the sentence, which was criticised by protest groups as being disproportionately harsh.
The court heard how Gilmour, a promising 21-year-old Cambridge university student, had taken a mixture of whiskey, valium and LSD on the day of the protests. That evening, he was part of a 100-strong crowd that attacked a royal convoy carrying Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, and later smashed the window of a nearby Topshop store.
As Gilmour was led away by a court officer, he turned and gave a wave.
Judge Price made it clear that Gilmour was not sentenced for swinging from a flag attached to the Cenotpah. Instead, he was sentenced for throwing a bin at a car carrying royal protection officers and for kicking the window of a nearby Topshop store.
"I have no doubt you felt strongly about the legislation regarding student fees, but what you did went far, far beyond proper protest," the judge said.
"I have to take into account that you have had many advantages that are denied to most young men who come before this court."
In pleading for leniency, Gilmour's defence barrister David Spens described how his client, who is adopted, had become a regular drug user during the latter half of 2010 after an emotionally scarring meeting with his biological father, Heathcote Williams.
The court heard how Mr Williams, a well known poet and author, has refused to have anything to do with his son both before and after his arrest.
The judge decided Gilmour's use of drugs was an aggravating factor. Protest groups accused the judiciary of handing down politically motivated "deterrent sentences" that treated violent protesters disproportionately harshly. (© Independent News Service)