Boat race swimmer Trenton Oldfield banned from Olympic torch route

 

The swimmer who brought the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race to a dramatic halt was today banned from the Olympic torch route and from visits to Windsor before the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Trenton Oldfield, 35, caused the annual contest on the River Thames to be stopped for around half an hour after he was spotted in the vessels' path as crews battled towards the finish.

Today the self-confessed anti-elitist swapped his wetsuit for more formal attire when he appeared before magistrates who imposed a series of strict bail conditions.

These were put in place after prosecutors referred to a website "purportedly generated" by Oldfield which set out an apparent "manifesto for civil disobedience" and allegedly sought to encourage others to "commit similar acts" to the Boat Race demonstration.

Dressed in a crumpled suit and tie, Oldfield spoke softly to confirm his name, date of birth and address at Feltham Magistrates' Court in Middlesex.

The Australian protester, who took to Twitter following his arrest to speak out against elitism, showed no emotion as he sat beside his legal team while the indictment was read out.

"You are charged, on April 7 of this year in the River Thames near Chiswick Eyot, with causing a public nuisance by swimming into the path of the University Boat Race and causing it to stop," he was told.

Oldfield entered no plea and was granted bail.

Restrictions prevent him from entering the City of Westminster on May 9 for the state opening of Parliament and forbid him from going into the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead before his next court appearance on May 23.

During this time a number of pre-Jubilee events are due to take place in the borough.

A further bail condition bans Oldfield from using or being within 100 metres of roads which form part of the Olympic torch route until the same date.

The 158th Boat Race on April 7 was labelled "possibly the most dramatic in history" by organisers after Oldfield created unprecedented disruption. It was the first time in its history that the event was disrupted by a swimmer.

This year's contest also saw an Oxford crew member break an oar and the team's bowman Alex Woods collapse after crossing the finishing line. He was later treated in hospital.

Oldfield sparked scenes of chaos when he swam towards the boats as they were neck and neck between the two and three-mile marker.

Former rower and assistant umpire Sir Matthew Pinsent was said to have alerted fellow adjudicators before the race was stopped and the swimmer, who narrowly avoided the blade of an Oxford oar, was pulled from the river. He was taken away on a police launch and arrested.

The race was restarted nearly half an hour later, with Cambridge powering on to victory.

Oldfield, who lives in a run-down block of flats in Myrdle Street, east London, later defended his anti-elitist stance online, claiming he had always "fought from within".

The demonstrator posted a series of messages the day after the race saying: "With the severe deficit in democracy new sites of protest unfortunately have had to be found" and "if its jail time, so be it".

He added: "Still waiting for someone to show me when elitism (seeing oneself above another) hasn't lead to oppression and tyranny?"

It was not the first time the Boat Race has been temporarily halted.

In 2001 the competition was stopped by the umpire just over a minute after the start, following repeated warnings to both crews to move apart and then a clash of blades for which Oxford was blamed. When the race got going, Cambridge rowed to victory.

Oldfield, who appeared relaxed during the half-hour hearing, made no comment as he left.

Chairman of the bench Alison Stone told the activist he will next appear at Isleworth Crown Court on May 23 at 10am.

PA

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker