“HE’S never shown any violent tendencies before, he’s never been a bad person, he’s a nice kid and literally wouldn’t hurt a fly – he used to tell us not to use fly spray because he didn’t want any flies to die,” Paul Davey told the Portsmouth News as his son Michael Sandford faces ten years in an American prison after trying to kill Donald Trump.
The 20-year-old from Dorking, Surrey was indicted on two federal charges on June 29 by a Las Vegas grand jury and denied bail by a magistrate who considered him a serious flight risk.
Sandford, who was in the US without a valid visa, will be charged with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm, and disrupting the orderly conduct of government business.
Currently being held in isolation at a high-security jail in Nevada where temperatures often exceed 40 degrees, Sandford is autistic and his father believes that someone must have either radicalised or blackmailed the vulnerable young man into the assassination attempt.
Federal prosecutors are expected to allege that the youngster had been plotting the attack for the best part of a year and on June 16 visited a Las Vegas gun range to learn how to use a weapon.
Two days later he attended a Trump rally at the desert city’s Treasure Island Casino where he struck up a conversation with a police officer before suddenly trying to grab his firearm.
He was immediately tackled to the ground and arrested, with the Secret Service claiming that the British national admitted targeting the officer as he thought his weapon was vulnerable, and said ‘somebody had to stand up for America’.
Now Sandford’s parents are pleading with American authorities to show leniency and deport him back to the UK, arguing that he has a troubled history of mental health problems, being treated for Asperger’s Syndrome, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia, and once escaping a hospital in England.
Having overstayed his temporary visa his parents believe Sandford had been living out of a car in New Jersey for a year and a half, refusing pleas to come home and being in infrequent contact.
They contacted the American Embassy but were informed that his status as an adult in the eyes of the law meant there was little they could do to help.
His mother Lynne is terrified of the prospect of her son being locked up with hardened inmates, noting his frailness and disturbed character, while his father Paul has relayed how when he spoke to Michael via video-link from the Nevada Southern Detention Centre, he wished him Happy Fathers Day but was scared and overwhelmed, being locked up in isolation for 22 hours per day and clueless as to what the future held.