Tourist ‘climbing over wall’ of Buckingham Palace is charged

Awad Mustafa was found hiding in stables and was seen filming in the grounds
Awad Mustafa was found hiding in stables and was seen filming in the grounds, the court was told - SOPA Images/Vuk Valcic

A US tourist climbed into the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace and began filming before being discovered hiding in a stable, a court was told.

Awad Mustafa, from New Jersey, was on a 10-day trip to the UK when he was arrested after allegedly breaking into the grounds of the building.

Mr Mustafa, who had been planning on flying to Spain as part of his travels on Sunday, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning dressed in a black T-shirt and grey tracksuit bottoms.

District Judge Amanda Pilling remanded the 25-year-old into custody ahead of a further hearing next week.

She said: “The offence you are charged with is a serious one and requires the consent of the attorney general for you to be prosecuted. That will take a little bit of time.”

‘Hiding in a stable’

David Burns, prosecuting, told the court that police were called at 1.25am on Saturday after Buckingham Palace staff saw a man “climbing over the wall” of the Royal Mews.

Mr Burns said: “He was seen climbing over walls and entering premises which are restricted.

“He was seen to be filming inside. He was then found hiding in a stable by officers.”

Mr Mustafa, who has been accused of trespassing on a protected site, has also been charged with attempted theft after officers discovered a vehicle inside the Mews had been broken into and “a search carried out”.

Mr Burns told the court that Mr Mustafa arrived in the UK on Sept 7 and had been planning on flying to Spain the day after the incident.

He added: “He is a visitor to the UK – when he was spoken to he confirmed he has no community ties.”

Remanded in custody

Mr Mustafa, who did not enter any pleas but spoke to confirm his name and date of birth, was heard telling his lawyer “I need to tell my employer” after learning he would be remanded in custody.

The Royal Mews includes an extensive display of royal carriages and other associated items. It is open to the public for much of the year during normal working hours.

It is also a working part of the palace where carriages and cars are in daily use supporting the work of the monarch.

Scotland Yard previously said that “at no point” did the intruder enter Buckingham Palace or the Palace Gardens.

Mr Mustafa will next appear in court on Sept 25.

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