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Real Fathers for Justice campaigner from Bookham climbs onto Ken Clarke's roof

By Leatherhead Advertiser  |  Posted: February 02, 2012

Real Fathers for Justice activists Martin Matthews, left, and Rob Hills scaled the wall of Justice Minister Ken Clarke's house to make their point on his rooftop

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ACTIVISTS campaigning for fathers' rights scaled the home of a Government minister in London.

Martin Matthews, of Middlemead Road, Bookham, performed the unplanned stunt while protesting outside Justice Minister Ken Clarke's home in Kennington.

A police helicopter and several squad cars attended after Mr Matthews, 44, and fellow campaigner Rob Hills flagged down a van, borrowed a ladder and scaled the front of Mr Clarke's house.

Mr Matthews said: "There was nothing planned which is why I didn't dress up.

"The opportunity presented itself so we got up on the roof and got back down and Mr Plod turned up in a helicopter and then the ground troops turned up, but there was nothing for them to do.

"When they arrived they simply found two guys having a cup of coffee."

Neither of the men was arrested or cautioned for the stunt, which was part of simultaneous protests held in London and at Mr Clarke's constituency offices in Nottingham by The Real Fathers For Justice in memory of former activist Paul Pengram.

Campaigners say Mr Pengram killed himself on January 4 after a court order banned him from contacting his son.

Mr Matthews said: "The idea was to remember Paul and make the Justice Minister sit up and take notice.

"We are a very small percentage of the population, divorced dads, and all we are asking for is the chance to be a dad."

Mr Matthews has a 15-year-old son and has been campaigning for fathers' rights for more than a decade.

"I made a promise to him years ago that I would do my damnedest to change things so he wouldn't live in a world with this mess when he is an adult," he said.

"I know it seems ridiculous and foolish but there is no other way to get their attention.

"It's not something you can just accept and be quiet about. The public needs reminding all the time that the problem's not going away."

In 2010, the Advertiser reported that Mr Matthews was charged under anti-terrorism laws for sending a nappy full of talcum powder to the Child Support Agency in Plymouth, but he was found not guilty at trial.

Mr Clarke's Parliamentary office declined to comment but a Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: "We want a family justice system which truly meets the needs of those at the heart of the system – children.

"As set out in the coalition programme for government, this government is committed to encouraging shared parenting and is firmly of the view that children should have meaningful relationships with both parents after separation."

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