Boat Race Swimmer Found Guilty

26 September 2012, 15:48 | Updated: 26 September 2012, 15:53

A protester who disrupted this year's Boat Race by swimming into the path of the crews has been found guilty of causing a public nuisance.

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

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

Judge Anne Molyneux said all options were open to the court, including jail, when he is sentenced on October 19.

The court heard that 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.

Oldfield, from Myrdle Street, east London, worked and volunteered for a decade in jobs and projects aimed at increasing better prospects for people in impoverished areas. 

He stopped the annual contest for around half an hour, the first time in the history of the 158-year event that it had been disrupted by a bather. 

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 TV, not to mention the two university rowing teams.