Nicknamed the “Silent Man”, He Blocked Traffic Repeatedly, but Refused to Speak!

by Piya Sengupta11 months ago
Picture Nicknamed the “Silent Man”, He Blocked Traffic Repeatedly, but Refused to Speak!

In Swansea, South Wales, U.K., commuters had repeatedly encountered a bizarre incident. A man, standing in the middle of a busy road, had been blocking and disrupting traffic for four continuous years. He remained utterly silent, not moving and not engaging in any conversation with the angry drivers trying to evade him. He had been arrested multiple times but had always maintained his creepy silence.

Nicknamed the “Silent Man,” his real name is David Hampson. The absurdity of his act and his resolve to remain silent has managed to confuse and intrigue everyone, including the police officers, the court officials, lawyers, prison authorities, doctors, and psychiatrists.

But who is he? And why did he repeatedly stand silently in the middle of a busy road? Was it some form of protest or just a meaningless act to create disturbance?

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Who is David Hampson, nicknamed the “Silent Man”?

UK Silent Man
UK Silent Man – David Hampson. Image Credit: Walesonline.co.uk

The only tangible information on the “Silent Man” comes from his actions. That is, the crime he committed repeatedly from 2014 to 2018 and also once after coming out of prison in 2021. Nothing else is known about the man behind the act, David Hampson. In fact, he has not even confirmed his name to anyone. Mr. Hampson has no fixed address. The police, who had been repeatedly called to the scene of this crime in the middle of the road, said that it seemed almost like he was waiting to get arrested. Throughout the years, he remained silent, often looking at the floor blankly, without any discernable expression. Because of this, he has continued to live up to his nickname, “The Silent Man.”

No one knows his motive because he has not told anyone. Nor has he ever tried to defend himself in court, resulting in a very tricky case involving extremely frustrated law officers.

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After his every release, he returned to his scene of the crime, usually in the middle of De La Beche Street, and repeated the offense by blocking the traffic just a few yards from Swansea Central police station. Finally, in 2018, he was sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a judge for breaching court orders and endangering lives.

Obstruct – Arrest – Silence – Repeat – …and it continues!

Swansea Central police station
Swansea Central Police Station. Image Credit: Jaggery/Wikimedia.org

In 2014, his crime seemed more of just a hindrance than something serious. He was given a two-year conditional discharge for four counts of intentionally blocking free passage along the highway. The “Silent Man” remained quiet. But he went on to repeat the crime in 2015 and subsequently in 2016, 2017, and 2018. He got arrested each time, and each time he maintained his silence.

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In prison, he reportedly barricaded himself in his cell and set his mattress on fire. No one has yet understood the point he was trying to make! You would think, after more than three years in prison, he would take a break, …but he didn’t.

On 3 December 2021, 51-year-old Hampson again went to the same spot on De La Beche Street and did the same thing he is infamous for – disrupt the busy traffic in the middle of the road. He was detained under the Mental Health Act, and, of course, he said nothing. His trial was unhelpful, mostly because the doctor could not make a diagnosis.

The British court has labeled him “Mute by Malice.” 

Swansea Crown Court
Swansea Crown Court. Image Credit: Nigel Davies/Wikimedia.org

The case of David Hampson, aka the “Silent Man,” started in 2014. Since then, he has been jailed at least nine times for the same offense. Something needed to be done. When David Hampson refused to talk, a trial was set to determine whether he was really unable to speak or he intentionally remained silent, speaking only when he chose to. This is called “Mute of Malice” or “Mute by Visitation of God.”

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But a psychiatric evaluation ordered by the court did not yield any results because David refused to even engage in a conversation with the doctor. It was important for the court to know the mental state of the offender. Therefore, his medical records were ordered by the court and given to the psychiatrist. According to the doctor, Hampson’s decision to remain mute is selective and deliberate, likely arising from social or financial stress. But no diagnosis could be made.

In fact, when he is given documents to read in court while he is on trial, he has sometimes replied with a ” Thank you.”   The jury found he was guilty. The court labeled him ” Mute by Malice.”

The judge said that the court wanted to help him rather than punish him. But it was another matter whether he, himself, was willing to help them. In the end, the judge concluded that social stresses could very well play a role in his choosing to be silent. But he has also displayed insolence and arrogance, and he could end up with a much longer sentence if he continues this behavior and puts lives in danger.

Let us hope, for everyone’s sake, the “Silent Man” one day decides not to live up to his name, solving his own case with words and without trouble.

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Picture Nicknamed the “Silent Man”, He Blocked Traffic Repeatedly, but Refused to Speak!
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