British man jailed in US for trying to grab gun at Trump rally returns to UK
Sandford suffers from mental health problems and was diagnosed as having had a psychotic episode at the time of the incident, in June.
A British man jailed for trying to grab a policeman’s gun at a Donald Trump rally in an apparent assassination bid has returned to the UK.
Sources close to the family confirmed Michael Sandford landed at Heathrow Airport on Thursday morning, nearly five months into a year-long sentence.
The 20-year-old attempted to snatch the weapon at a Las Vegas casino where the then-presidential hopeful was addressing supporters in the run-up to the US election.
He was sentenced at a federal court in Las Vegas in December to 12 months in jail after pleading guilty to charges of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and disrupting an official function.
Sandford, who has autism, suffers from a number of mental health problems and was diagnosed as having had a psychotic episode at the time of the incident, in June.
He faced up to 20 years in jail had he been found guilty of the offences at a trial, and initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty following a plea agreement.
Speaking after the sentencing, Sandford’s mother Lynne said the family, from Dorking in Surrey, were “absolutely delighted” and “over the moon with the sentence”.
She told Good Morning Britain: “The judge was a reasonable and compassionate man and he really took into account the full extent of Michael’s problems.
“And the fact that Michael was only a danger ever to himself – nobody else. We are thrilled to bits for him.”
Asked how her son was feeling following the hearing and about the prospect of being in a US prison, Ms Sandford said: “Obviously it is going to still be a struggle for him each day.
“But just knowing that he has only less than a year to do is going to make a tremendous amount of difference to him. He knows he has got a future ahead of him and it is not too far to go.
“He knows he has got his family to come back to and it just makes all the difference in the world to him.”
Sandford was released less than half-way through the sentence, despite fears Mr Trump might seek to intervene and either keep him in jail for longer or block his return to the UK.