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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Father jailed for attack on judge
Court graphic
Mr Oldfield thought the judge was part of a conspiracy
A father who spent nine years fighting a decision to put his children in care has been jailed for 18 months for attacking a High Court judge.

William Oldfield, 55, of All Saints Road, Murston, Sittingbourne, Kent, knocked registrar John Simmonds to the floor at a bankruptcy hearing in January.

Oldfield had campaigned for years against what he saw as the state-sanctioned abduction of his children.

He refused to pay tax until he was given the 2.4m compensation he believed he was owed for the "kidnap" of his children.


He considered Registrar Simmonds to be part of the growing conspiracy behind the kidnapping of his children

James Hasslacher, defending

When the judge announced he was bankrupt at the hearing on 9 January, said: "In that event I have to treat you as a kidnapper."

He grabbed the judge around the neck and knocked him to the floor, breaking his glasses and one of his teeth.

The father-of-three later pleaded guilty to assault.

In a statement after the attack he said: "I committed an act of which I am not proud but which was committed as an act of necessity to ensure that my case be brought to the notice of other parties who might not be so indifferent to the suffering that I have experienced since proceedings began against me in 1993."

'End of tether'

Sentencing him at the Royal Courts of Justice, Mr Justice Mitting said: "I'm not going to impose a sentence of imprisonment on you because you were angry and obsessed or because you pursued your grievances through the courts over the years, but simply because you launched a physical attack on a judge performing his duty."

James Hasslacher, defending, earlier told the court his client's problems began in 1988 when unfounded allegations resulted in his children being taken into care.

Mr Hasslacher said: "He also considered Registrar Simmonds to be part of the growing conspiracy behind the kidnapping of his children."

He said it was a "gross error of judgment" by a man who was at the "end of his tether and had been pushed to the edge".


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28 Sep 01 | England
08 Jan 01 | UK
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