Homeless man jailed for picking up London Marathon number and crossing finishing line
4 July 2018
A 38-year-old homeless man, Stanislaw Skupian, has been jailed for 16 weeks. His “crime”?—picking up a discarded London Marathon race number, crossing the finishing line and collecting a finisher’s medal.
In the race run April 22, Jake Halliday, who was taking part, paused to remove his T-shirt some 300 metres short of the finish and in doing so lost his race number. Skupian, a keen jogger who had gone to watch the race, spontaneously joined the race at the 12-mile mark.
Polish national Skupian had been living in England for 11 years. At the end of last year, his life began to fall apart. He sustained a neck injury following a serious car crash. The injury rendered him unable to work, and he lost his catering job. Subsequently, he separated from his wife and seven-year-old son and became homeless. He resorted to living at Heathrow airport, where police arrested him.
On May 18, police took Skupian to Uxbridge Magistrates Court, where he was charged with fraud by false representation for picking up the marathon race finishers’ medal. He was also charged with theft of three inconsequential items, found in his possession when police arrested him at Heathrow. Among these were a primary school worker’s ID card and a pink diary holding overtime hours worked by airline staff. He found these items at the airport, which his solicitor Jameela Jamroz said, given his predicament, he effectively treated as his home. Skupian pleaded guilty to all the charges at the earliest opportunity.
In court, it was revealed that Skupian had suffered a mental breakdown shortly before the marathon race episode. Jamroz told the court he had had ambitions of running in the race…