May 28, 2008 / 1:00 PM / 9 years ago

Briton leaps off tallest tower and lands in Dubai court

DUBAI (Reuters) - A Dubai court charged a British man on Wednesday with creeping into the world’s tallest building under cover of darkness and parachuting off the 150th floor without consent, in an effort to set a new world record.

<p>The world's tallest tower Burj Dubai stands on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai February 27, 2008. REUTERS/Jumana ElHeloueh</p>

At his initial hearing the 36-year-old pleaded guilty to entering the Burj Dubai tower, which is still under construction, hiding there for seven hours before climbing to the 150th floor and jumping off.

The man was held by Burj Dubai security officials until police were alerted and arrived on the scene on April 26, police records showed. The court did not immediately disclose the name of the Briton, who has been released on bail.

His lawyers say he faces up to a year in jail or a 5,000 dirham (690 pound) fine if convicted of trespass and jumping off the building without the permission of the owner, the United Arab Emirates’ biggest developer Emaar Properties.

“The Burj Dubai is the world’s tallest building and is a marvel of the world. I wanted to honour it, Emaar and Dubai by jumping safely from it,” the man told the local 7 DAYS tabloid. “I‘m a sportsman, not a criminal.”

BASE jumping -- the acronym stands for Building, Antenna, Span, Earth -- is a dangerous sport in which individuals parachute off fixed objects such as tall buildings.

The paper said the Briton had come to Dubai specifically to do the jump, which he carried out with a camera fixed to his helmet.

Burj Dubai, in the UAE’s trade and tourism hub of Dubai, became the tallest building in the world in July, measuring 512.1 metres (1,680 ft), a title previously held by Taipei 101 in Taiwan. Emaar has not revealed how tall the building will be when it is finished later this year.

BASE jumpers have also landed in trouble with police in other cities, often for risking the safety of people and property with their jumps.

Writing by Lin Noueihed; Editing by Jon Boyle

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