A British man has been jailed for 12 months for trying to grab a policeman’s gun at a Donald Trump rally in an alleged bid to kill the now US president-elect.
Michael Sandford, 20, attempted to snatch the weapon at a Las Vegas casino where Mr Trump was addressing supporters in the run-up to the US election in June.
His father Paul Davey lives in Havant, and after the incident told The News that he ‘had no idea’ why his son had done it, saying he was quiet and had no interest in politics.
He allegedly told officers after his arrest that his plan was to shoot the tycoon.
Sandford, who has autism, was sentenced at a federal court in Las Vegas after pleading guilty in September to charges of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and disrupting an official function.
Lawyers acting for Sandford said he suffers a number of mental health problems and he was diagnosed as having had a psychotic episode at the time of the incident on June 18.
Sentencing Sandford to 12 months and a day in prison, Judge James Mahan told him: ‘You have a medical problem. You should not be ashamed or embarrassed about it. You need medication.
‘You’re not a hardened criminal. You’re not evil or a sociopath like a lot of people we have.
‘I don’t think you wanted to kill anybody. This was just some crazy stunt that your mind told you to do.’
Sandford, of Dorking, Surrey, had faced up to 20 years in jail had he been found guilty of the offences at a trial. He had initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty in September following a plea agreement.
He became tearful as he addressed the court to apologise for his actions.
Dressed in an orange prison uniform and wearing leg irons, he told the court: ‘I know saying sorry is not enough. I really do feel awful about what I did.
‘I wish there was some way to make things better.
‘I have cost taxpayers so much money. I feel terrible.’
Addressing the judge, he added: “I’m really sorry to you and the court for taking up so much time.”
Before sentencing, Sandford waved to his mother Lynne, father Paul Davey, grandmother Christine and four-year-old sister Jessica, who were in court.
Ms Sandford has called for her son to be allowed to serve his sentence in the UK so he can receive psychiatric help.
Speaking ahead of the sentencing his lawyer, Saimo Chahal QC (Hon), said: ‘It will be an incredibly tense time today for Michael.
‘I hope the sentence handed down later today is a compassionate one which fully takes account of the mitigating circumstances, namely the serious mental health disorders which led him to commit the offence.’