Boat Race protester found guilty

The man who disrupted the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race has been found guilty of causing a public nuisance.

Trenton Oldfield, 36, was today found guilty at Isleworth Crown Court of causing a public nuisance after disrupting this year’s competition by swimming into the path of the crews.

He is due to be sentenced on October 19, and was told by Judge Anne Molyneux that all options were open to the court, including jail.

“Mr Oldfield has accepted that he disrupted the boat race,” she said.

During the trial Oldfield, of Myrdle Street, east London, said that he swam into the path of the crews to highlight London’s inequality and government cuts.

He told the court yesterday that the race was a symbol of elitism in government and that London “has the highest inequality in the western world”.

Asked what the Boat Race had to do with it, Oldfield said: “It’s a symbol of a lot of issues in Britain around class, 70 per cent of government pushing through very significant cuts are Oxford or Cambridge graduates. It was a symbolic gesture to these kind of issues.”

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Oldfield, who is Australian and moved to the UK in 2001, said he was protesting about government plans to “sell-off” the NHS, “snoop” on electronic communications and encourage people to “dob in” those planning protests during the Olympics.

Prosecutor Louis Mably told jurors the race between Oxford and Cambridge was spoiled for hundreds of thousands of spectators watching from the banks of the river or live on BBC TV, not to mention the two university rowing teams.

The judge said it was Oldfield’s first offence and that five people had told the court he was a man of good character.

She said he had held a number of jobs in social projects. However, she said: “The court will be considering if a custodial sentence is necessary.”

Oldfield hugged his partner as he was released on bail until sentencing.