|Trenton Oldfield Trial Starts In Isleworth Crown Court|
Court hears how he was pulled from the water during the Boat Race
The trial of Trenton Oldfield, the man who halted the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race when he swam into the Thames, started at Isleworth Crown Court today.
The 36-year old Australian was before the court on a charge of causing a public nuisance. Oldfield, of Myrdle Street, East London has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The court was told that Mr. Oldfield had to be pulled from the water and “saved from his own stupidity”.
The incident happened last April 7th, and the race had to be stopped for the first time in its 158-year history. Mr Oldfield was arrested by police and taken to Chiswick Police Station. He later said he was protesting against elitism.
The jury was told he could have been killed if he had been struck by an oar, or one of the flotilla of motorboats following the two crews.
Opening the case, the prosecution told the court that tens of thousands of people were watching the annual event on the towpath and many more at home had tuned into the BBC1 broadcast.
"They wanted to watch the race but one person (by the river) wanted to disrupt it and he decided he took precedence over everybody else," said prosecutor Louis Mably.
"He jumped into the river wearing a wet suit and swam out into the path of the competing boats who were neck and neck going flat out.
"The race umpire took the decision to halt the race as a responsible and decent citizen to prevent serious injury or the possible death of Oldfield.
"It obviously spoilt the race but it showed responsibility and consideration for others that was so distinctly lacking in Oldfield himself and saved him from his own stupidity."
Oldfield was pulled out of the water, taken to Chiswick Bridge and arrested by police.
The trial continues.
September 24, 2012