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By Isaac Delestre & James Restall
The rogue swimmer who sabotaged this year’s annual Oxbridge boat race has been found guilty of causing a public nuisance.
Trenton Oldfield, 36, yesterday pleaded not-guilty to charges having forced the 158th annual race to be restarted. Oldfield, who was educated in Sydney before coming the UK to study at the London School of Economics, disrupted the iconic event by jumping into the river, narrowly avoiding being struck by one of the rower’s oars.
The restarting of the race led to controversy after an oar of favourites Oxford broke during the second attempt, granting Cambridge a commanding victory.
Oldfield claims that his actions were a protest against Oxbridge elitism. In an article posted online Oldfield described the boat-race as “a public event, for and by elites”.
The trial, taking place at Isleworth Crown Court, today saw both former Olympic gold medal rower Sir Matthew Pinset and umpire John Garrett give evidence.
Sir Matthew testified that ”the incident caused me alarm as one of my primary roles is the safety of the competitors and the public at large. If he had been hit by an oar or boat he could have cracked his skull or been knocked unconscious and drowned. The students had been training for six months.”
Garrett also gave a statement emphasising the danger that Oldfield had placed himself in, adding also that ”it was not just himself he was putting himself in danger. With so many boats following at such speed there was a risk there may be crashes between the boats.”
Judge Anne Molyneux said that Oldfield could face jail when he is sentenced on October 19. She said: “The court will be considering if a custodial sentence is necessary.”