Surrey

Donald Trump rally gun snatch accused's mother 'wants him back in UK'

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Media captionLynne Sandford says her son Michael is "extremely vulnerable"

The mother of a British man who allegedly snatched a policeman's gun at a Donald Trump rally has called for him to be returned to the UK.

According to court documents, Michael Sandford, 20, told police he wanted to shoot Mr Trump.

His mother Lynne said she feared her son may try to take his own life if he is detained in a US prison.

She said she want him to be deported "so he could be back in this country and get psychiatric help".

If convicted, Mr Sandford, who has Asperger's syndrome, could face up to 30 years in prison.

He is due to appear in court in Las Vegas again on Wednesday.

Image copyright Lynne Sandford
Image caption Lynne Sandford said she was horrified at the charges. "It's very scary. This is not the Michael I know."

Speaking on the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, Ms Sandford said she did not want her son to "escape punishment" but did not want him to be incarcerated abroad.

Mr Sandford has a history of contact with mental health services, she said, and had previously tried to take his own life.

There was "no way" he would cope with the conditions in a US prison if he received a lengthy sentence, she said.

His family had been told he was being held "in isolation 22 hours a day with no window to the outside world".

"He is really closed off to society, to everything," she added.

"He is very gentle, calm person" and would think "there is no point," she added.

'Articulate and bright'

"Why would he live the next 30 years in these situations? So yes I think he would attempt to commit suicide again."

Mr Sandford travelled to the US around a year ago.

His mother said she "desperately" tried to stop him from leaving the UK, but despite support from medical professionals was unable to do so.

"We were basically told because he's 18 unless you have him declared mentally incompetent, there's nothing you can do," he said.

"And because he is very articulate, very bright, we could not stop him."

Image caption Lynne Sandford described her son growing up as a "sweet, sensitive and calm" person with a "wacky sense of humour" and loving to his family

His mother said she would go from hearing nothing at all to receiving 10 calls a day from him. He would refuse to answer questions about what he had been doing or his lifestyle, she added.

'World fell apart'

"Next thing I knew, on 18 June, I was woken at midnight by a call from the Foreign Office - it shocked me," Ms Sandford explained.

"They said he had been arrested. My world fell apart, I was shaking head-to-foot and burst into tears. I couldn't believe it."

"I need to know what happened to him in the last year in America. Who put these ideas in his head?"

Image copyright Reuters

According to court documents, Mr Sandford told the secret service that he had driven to the rally in Las Vegas from California in order to kill Mr Trump and he had been to a gun range the day before to practise shooting.

He also said he expected to die in the attempt, which he had been planning for a year.

Ms Sandford said her son "had never mentioned politics in any way in his entire life and never taken an interest in politics."

The Foreign Office said in a statement: "We have offered advice and information to the family in this case and will continue to do so. We remain in contact with Mr Sandford's legal representatives and have submitted a request to visit him."

The Federal Bureau of Prisons says it works to provide education to staff and inmates on suicide prevention.

The Victoria Derbyshire programme is broadcast on weekdays from 09:00-11:00 on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel.

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