UPDATE: Gilmour Jailed Following Student Protest

Charlie Gilmour was sentenced to a 16-month spell in prison for acts of violent disorder in the December student protests.


The Cambridge Academic Campaign for Higher Education (CACHE), formed by dissenting dons in the wake of the student protests, today expressed its objection to Gilmour’s sentence in a letter published by The Guardian.

CACHE said: “As Cambridge University dons, we view with some disquiet the 16-month prison sentence imposed on Cambridge student, Charlie Gilmour, following his arrest during a student fees’ protest last winter.

“Manifestly exceeding a judicious and reasonable punishment for Charlie’s actions, the severity of this sentence seems primarily
‘exemplary’: to warn young people that protest will be criminalised and punished to the maximum permissible extent. Those of us who are concerned to defend the right to dissent and protest in a democratic polity must speak out against the political message embodied by this extraordinary symbolic sentence.

“We must hope that that such worrying travesties of natural justice do not deter people of conscience from speaking up in these difficult times.”

The full text of the letter, and a list of signatories, can be viewed on Cambridge Defend Education’s website here.


Charlie Gilmour was handed a 16-month prison sentence today for his actions at a protest against increased tuition fees.

The second year Girtonian was charged on two counts of violent disorder:

-for kicking a window at Topshop on Oxford Street,

-for throwing a bin at a car carrying Prince Charles in the royal convoy.

His defence cited a traumatic family life and being “tranquillised out of my mind.” Gilmour allegedly took a mixture of valium, whiskey, and LSD on the day of the protest.

Gilmour arrives at court with his mother and step-father

Arrested in December, Gilmour pleaded gil-ty to the Topshop charge in May, but hadn’t yet entered a plea about the royal convoy. His hearing was held back so that he could sit his Tripos exams, in which he achieved a 2.1.

Gilmour, whose step-father is Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, drew wall-to-wall headlines after swinging from a Union flag attached to the Cenotaph at the December protests.

Although Cenotaph-swinging was not part of his conviction, the Judge slammed Gilmour for having “shown disrespect to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, to those who fell defending this country.”

He also binned the historian’s claim not to have known what the Cenotaph was, saying: “For a young man of your intelligence and education and background to profess to not know what the Cenotaph represents defies belief.

“I have to take into account that you have had many advantages which are denied to most young men who come before this court.

“In short, you should have known better than to engage in such a criminal and reprehensible way.”

The university stayed tight-lipped, refusing to offer any comment. Girton, however, released an official statement: “The College notes the gravity of the offence and is firmly opposed to public disorder. Due legal process has been observed, and Mr Gilmour has been tried and sentenced accordingly.”

Gilmour swinging from the Cenotaph

But other sources have been more vocal. Twitter exploded with Gilmour gossip earlier today, as ‘Charlie Gilmour’ rocketed to the no.1 trending topic for the UK, with thousands blasting the sentence as disproportionate and political.

Gilmour’s fellow students also appear to be sympathetic towards his sentence. A second year Girtonian, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Tab: “What Charlie did was idiotic, but there’s no way he deserves a 16 month sentence.”

The police-monitoring group Fitwatch told The Tab: “This is politically motivated sentencing designed to deter dissent – many people engaged in serious violence on a Saturday night do not get such long sentences.

“On all the protests there was police violence and abuses of power – several of which are subject to Judicial Review – and protesters facing court from the demos should be fighting their cases.”

The university refused to comment on whether Gilmour will be allowed to complete his degree after carrying out his sentence.

  • JailBait

    Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. Serves him right.

  • Alonso

    Scandalous over-sentencing. What he did was enormously stupid but did he hurt anyone? Not really, no. It was vandalism and potentially offensive but not malicious. He's not a danger to the public so why pay to lock him up and ruin his future life-prospects further? Community service would have been a much better option.

    • Lad Romance

      Yeah but he had shit chat.

  • BWL

    Gilmour is a tool and deserves the minimum 8 months. He has insulted those who gave their lives for his rights and took the headlines away from the message of the protest

  • Ridiculous

    Completely over the top sentence, 2 months over the summer would have been more than enough. I used to think he was a twat but now I feel sorry for him

    • Moronic

      Oh get a grip. This is the British Legal System. The most he'll serve with that sentence is 4 months.

      • Not a moron

        You don't really understand what the word "minimum" means do you?

  • scapegoatscout

    My organisation searches the globe for the ideal scapegoats for every occasion. A posh, drugged up Cantabrigian swinging upon a monument that his intelligence should have warned him not to was the most perfect example i've ever seen. Now my clients can stop worrying about the prosecution of people who will actually endanger members of our society. And if you're looking for a Pink Floyd pun, you can choose from: "Now he's doing 'Time'", "he didn't want them to charge students more 'money', so let's fuck him up", "he didn't know what the cenotaph was?!? he must have 'brain damage' or atleast he's 'comfortably dumb'", "he shoud have gone 'on the run'".

  • scapegoatscouts

    On a serious not though, If someone had thrown something at my car the twats wouldn't have got 16 months because i'm not next in line to the throne. This is a serious case of "us and them". And yes, that is a PF song, look if up, it's one of their best!

  • irony

    now he has to take a year out to serve his sentence and come back to pay 9000 pounds

    • not quite

      the increase only applies to those who matriculate 2012 onwards. It won't apply for people who've started their degrees before then, even if they finish after 2012.

  • Anthony

    this is a disgrace. he is a hero. fuck the establishment, let him go free

  • Corporal Clegg

    Is Fitwatch the new fitsort?

  • Gstokey

    Alonso, the length of his sentence has no impact on his life-prospects. These were severely impacted the moment he took the decision to be put in a position where a celebrity's son was seen attempting to damage a national war memorial. I don't condone the sentencing policies of some countries which regard defacing the national flag as a serious crime, but upsetting thousands of veterans and their families should be treated with tough sanctions. As regards throwing an object at a car with people in it, scapegoats, don't criticise the sentence Gilmour received; criticise the courts for being lenient on "less advantaged criminals" who endanger the lives of other motorists.

    • dfg

      "upsetting thousands of veterans and their families should be treated with tough sanctions" Don't agree. It's wrong but 16 months is just plain wrong.

    • No.

      Upsetting others is not a crime. Upsetting others should not be a crime. Treating a certain group – veterans – as an exception to this is to go against the very principle of liberal democracy for which they fought. The same is true of singling him out for being 'more advantaged' or 'a celebrity's son'.

      Also (as a serious question), where is the evidence that he was deliberately attempting to damage the Cenotaph? I thought he was merely swinging from it: 'disrespectful', fine, but clearly not 'attempting to damage'.

    • ncc

      And the Cenotaph wasn't actually part of his sentence…

  • ERB

    Last week Francis Fernie (aged 20, York Uni student) was given 12 months for violent disorder, for throwing two sticks from protest banners at police (no injury caused).

    These are politically motivated sentences, aiming to create an air of fear amongst protesters. The right to protest is an important one. Yes, idiots who endanger anyone else should be punished, but not in a way which reflects an attempt to distract from the policies about which many protest. And an attempt to hide the general shocking level of police ability in many protest situations.

    • http://rosalind-photographer-marbella.eu Rosalind

      It is obviously that Charlie is being used as an example but the choice of sentence is unfair and unhelpful to all concerned. Community service would have been a healthier option.
      We need our intelligent and educated youth. There certainly are many who are neither intelligent nor educated and are given every opportunity.
      There is no reasonable explanation for sending him to such a severe prison. This could profoundly affect his life in a negative way.
      Please ad my name to whatever lists re about for his release.

  • Is this…

    Harry Potter on the first picture?

  • neutral

    completely over the top sentence. over a year in prison for breaking a window and being a drugged up idiot seems very disproportionate – the maximum sentence for actual bodily harm for instance is only six months.

    • What..

      No it isn't – It's 5 years – although 6 months is probably the average!

      • neutral

        sorry, confused my offences – meant to say battery, rather than ABH. still disparate.

        • aha

          nice to see someone who admits their mistakes

  • Alessandre

    It's incredibly funny that he went out on a pro-big-government protest and ended up being jailed by the state for attacking the son of the head-of-state.

    This is exactly the reason I hate the state, because they don't tolerate dissent and resort to putting people in cages when they can't think of anything better to do.

    But then again I hate the state, and that's why I wasn't at the protest in the first place.

    So, there we have it, the state is actually so impossible to work with that they put someone in a cage for violently protesting that the government isn't big enough or violent enough

    • Politics Judge

      This is wrong in so, so many ways.

  • dollypartonmad


  • Charlie's Mum

    Atleast he got a haircut. Probably the best thing to come out of all of this.

  • Come on, guys

    I bet all the people who think the sentence is far too long would be delighted if I fuelled myself up on drugs and then lobbed a bin at their car.

    Varsity says he's been jailed for "his part in the student protests". The Guardian waffles on about the loser being freedom of expression. Maybe neither has sussed this out, but lots and lots of people went on the student protests and expressed themselves freely, but the brave dissenters that the cruel hand of the state evilly chose to make an example of happened to be the ones guilty of public order offences.

    No – he's being imprisoned for throwing a bin at a moving vehicle whilst high on LSD, which isn't really an action we should be condoning. And all this "no injury caused" stuff is crazy. Is it really more acceptable to commit public order offences if you're a bit shit at it?

    Lastly, if you're anti-higher fees, as I am, you should be annoyed at Gilmore. This sort of behaviour made the protests look ridiculous.

    • ERB

      There is a huge difference between condoning his actions and suggesting he deserves a just sentence.

      Nobody said it is more acceptable to commit public order offences if you're a bit shit at it – but whether anyone was injured is likely to be reflected in the sentence given. Which was therefore informing the point.

    • nahhh

      You wouldn't get 16 months in prison if you did that, though. That's the point. Community service or even a short prison sentence would be more fitting. Very harsh judge on the day (how does being out of your mind on drugs make a crime worse, rather than more understandable?).

      When this all happened I thought Gilmour (and all the other protestors, the fees increase isn't that bad really) were twats but this is a crazy prison sentence. Hopefully he'll only serve a few months and it won't be too bad in there.

  • Lord Denning

    While I think the sentence is excessive and the guidelines need re-examining, it is not out of the ordinary. The CPS gives a sample of relevant case law:

    R v Hebron and Spencer 11 Cr. App. R (S) 226
    Both under 21 and took part in N.Y. Eve riot.
    H threw bottles at Police. S shook fists and shouted "Kill the Bill".
    10 and 12 months respectively was an appropriate sentence.

    R v Rees [2006]1 Cr App R (S)
    A feature of the offence is that it is not the individual conduct of one offender that is of importance but the nature of the offending as a whole.

    • Seriously?

      12 months for shaking his fist and shouting 'Kill the Bill'? Is that a joke?

  • Felix

    This would never happen in Germany

  • A less serious point

    "Gilmour pleaded gil-ty"
    "Gil-ty"? Really?

  • Mother Teresa

    Drop drop the soap, shitsponge.


      Oh, hey, yeah, rape's hilarious.

  • Dave G

    Can you please stop italicising things that shouldn't be italicised? (like, for example, Pink Floyd, or, in another of your articles, Sainsbury's.) Pretty easy stuff really.

Heard something newsworthy?

Review: Iolanthe

Gilbert and Sullivan’s rompingly modern fairytale is well worth seeing, says Anna Peel.


The site is changing your timeline and people are livid

, Contributing Editor

Don’t use the Six Nations as an excuse to slag off Plastic Celts

We can’t help who we are

, Deputy Editor

There is nothing men fear more than getting a haircut

‘Do you want the back square or natural?’

, Chief Reporter

If Notting Hill were remade today, where would it be set?

Dalston? Clapham? What about Brixton?

, Contributing Editor

The soul of London is visible through an unlikely window: Chicken Cottage

It’s a place that makes us all the same