May 23 2013 Latest news:
Monday, September 24, 2012
A swimmer “protesting about elitism” brought chaos to this year’s Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race when he jumped into the Thames and brought it to a dramatic halt, a court heard today.
Trenton Oldfield, 36, of Whitechapel, stopped the annual contest for around half an hour on April 7 - the first time in the history of the 158-year event that it had been disrupted by a bather.
Prosecutor Louis Mably told jurors at Isleworth Crown Court that 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.
He said that despite it continuing, “so far as the Boat Race was concerned, Mr Oldfield had obviously caused chaos.
“The feeling of disappointment was obvious - because not only had everything been delayed but the crews and the public had been denied a natural conclusion to the race that they had come to the river to see.”
Mr Mably said that after being rescued from the river, Oldfield was detained by police who asked him why he had jumped in the river.
Mr Mably added: “He replied that he was protesting about elitism. Exactly what he meant by that - who knows?”
Oldfield, of Myrdle Street, denies a charge of causing a public nuisance.
The trial continues.