Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Boat Race protester could face jail

Trenton Oldfield is pulled from the River Thames after he temporarily halted the 158th Boat Race

A protester who disrupted this year's Boat Race by swimming into the path of the crews could face jail after being found guilty of causing a public nuisance.

In front of millions of television viewers, Trenton Oldfield, 36, halted the annual race between Oxford and Cambridge on April 7.

He told a jury at London's Isleworth Crown Court that the event was a symbol of elitism in government.

The annual contest, won by Cambridge, was described as one of the most dramatic in the history of the race after the wet suit-clad swimmer was spotted in the vessels' path.

The drama of the race continued after the interruption when the blade of an Oxford oar broke and the crew's bowman Alex Woods collapsed at the end and was taken to hospital.

In court, Judge Anne Molyneux said all options were open, including jail, when Oldfield is sentenced on October 19.

During the trial Oldfield told the jury the race was a symbol of elitism in Government and that London "has the highest inequality in the western world".

He said: "(The boat race is) a symbol of a lot of issues in Britain around class, 70% of Government pushing through very significant cuts are Oxford or Cambridge graduates.

"It was a symbolic gesture to these kind of issues."

Oldfield, an Australian who moved to the UK in 2001, decided to make the protest after learning of Government plans to "sell off" the NHS and "snoop" on electronic communications, and after hearing encouragement given to "dob in" people planning protests during the Olympics.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz