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George King: Family of jailed Shard free-climber call for sentence to be overturned

The family of a young stuntman jailed for climbing The Shard have called for the “unfair and unjust” punishment to be overturned.

Then 19-year-old George King made headlines across the world when he scaled the 1000ft skyscraper without safety gear in just 45 minutes in July.

But in the process the daring free climber broke a High Court order banning him from the climb, and he was jailed for six months this week for contempt of court.

Now his brother, Toby, has started a petition for the twenty-year-old to be freed – and says despite assurances in court he would be sent to a young offenders institution, he has actually been locked up in Pentonville, a Category B adult jail.

George pictured during his daring Shard climb this year

“It’s completely unfair and unjust that George, who’s achieved so much in his life, has been locked away in prison – not in a young offenders, but in an adult prison,” older brother Toby told the News.

“He broke the law, but we disagree with him being sentenced to prison. He does not need to be cooped up with people who have committed terrible crimes – it’s outrageous.

“It [the ruling] was trying to set an example out of him. It’s been horrible for the whole family.”

Family have not been able to contact George – who is originally from Oxford but had been living in east London before the climb – to check how he is doing, Toby added.

Loved ones are also concerned that Pentonville is “known for violence and overcrowding.”

The Shard’s management company had welcomed Monday’s ruling at the High Court.

George pictured in Vinegar Yard with his mum close to The Shard (Image: Instagram / @therealgeorgeking)

Real Estate Management Ltd, the skyscraper’s management body, said it had “no option than to secure the injunction” against George’s climbing of The Shard.

It added that they hoped the six-month sentence would deter other prospective climbers, and force them “to recognise the great dangers that these actions pose to the public, emergency services and themselves.”

The News has contacted The Shard for further comment.

The petition started by 23-year-old Toby two days ago to overturn the sentence has now achieved more than 2,500 signatures under the slogan ‘#justice4george’.

“We’ve had a lot of support from people who think it’s not a justified sentence,” said George’s brother.

The free-climber is well-known for his feats, which include scaling the world’s largest climbing wall without safety equipment and running ultra-marathons, alongside personal training and charity work.

The daring free-climber is well known for his escapades (Image: Instagram / @therealgeorgeking)

The 20-year-old had been working for Centrepoint, the youth homelessness charity, before being jailed.

“This is a man that clearly cares and has a really good moral compass,” said Toby. “His philosophy is to ‘follow your passions’.

“He really should be celebrated as a hero.”

The petition for George can be found on here.



  1. At 19, he’s an adult – and knew that he was breaking the law… No sympathy from normal people, I’m afraid.

  2. Apparently has a ‘really good moral compass ‘ yet had to have a court order in place to prevent him being a bad influence on unskilled young people and decides that he knows better and is above the law and puts his, and others lives at risk. I would really hate to see what his brother calls a bad moral compass.

    If he just wanted to climb it on his own (following his passion) and not advertise the fact on social media, inviting copycats from unskilled people I would have more sympathy.

    He is an adult and should be in an adult prison, otherwise it potentially puts genuine young offenders at risk.

  3. Surely there is a more balanced way to slap his wrists. No one was hurt or killed so this seems utterly disproportionate. Please reconsider this unjust punishment!

  4. If only he’d remembered to pack a rainbow flag or an extinction rebellion banner – then his jail term would have magically disappeared.

  5. A six month sentence for climbing the Shard .

    Meanwhile in another part of Southwark a 17 year old get a 12 month youth order for numerous sexual assaults , 2 counts of theft and a robbery .

    Seems to me that something is happening and its not justice

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