Michael Sandford gets ‘compassionate’ sentence for gun grab at Trump rally

Police remove Michael Steven Sandford  at the rally. Picture: AP Photo/John Locher
Police remove Michael Steven Sandford at the rally. Picture: AP Photo/John Locher
Share this article
Have your say

The mother of a British man jailed for trying to grab a policeman’s gun at a Donald Trump rally in an apparent bid to kill the tycoon has said she is “absolutely delighted” with the sentence.

Michael Sandford, 20, attempted to snatch the weapon at a Las Vegas casino where the now president-elect was addressing supporters in the run-up to the US election in June.

On Tuesday he was sentenced at a federal court in Las Vegas to 12 months in jail after pleading guilty to charges of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and disrupting an official function.

Appearing on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, his mother, Lynne Sandford, said the family, from Dorking in Surrey, are “absolutely delighted” and “over the moon with the sentence”.

“The judge was a reasonable and compassionate man and he really took into account the full extent of Michael’s problems,” she told the show.

“And the fact that Michael was only a danger ever to himself - nobody else. We are thrilled to bits for him.”

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: I’ll meet Donald Trump if he comes to Scotland

Sandford, who has autism, suffers from a number of mental health problems and was diagnosed as having had a psychotic episode at the time of the incident on June 18, his lawyers told the hearing.

He had faced up to 20 years in jail had he been found guilty of the offences at a trial, and initially denied the charges but pleaded guilty in September following a plea agreement.

Asked how her son is feeling following the hearing and about the prospect of being in a US prison, Ms Sandford said: “Obviously it is going to still be a struggle for him each day.

“But just knowing that he has only less than a year to do is going to make a tremendous amount of difference to him. He knows he has got a future ahead of him and it is not too far to go.

“He knows he has got his family to come back to and it just makes all the difference in the world to him.”

Sandford’s lawyers have said he will now serve around four months, having been detained since June, before he is deported back to Britain.

Sentencing him 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.”