Briton appears in US court over 'attempt to kill Donald Trump'

A Briton accused of attempting to grab a police officer's gun in a bid to kill Donald Trump has appeared in shackles at a US court.

Michael Sandford, 20, was arrested at a rally in a Las Vegas casino after going for the weapon as he asked for the presidential hopeful's autograph.

He told police he had plotted to assassinate the Republican candidate for a year. He had taken shooting lessons in recent days, and had believed he would die during the bid.

police remove protestor Michael Steven Sandford
Police remove protestor Michael Steven Sandford after he was accused of making a grab for a police officer's gun (John Locher/AP)

On Monday the British national was denied bail at a District Court in Nevada, where he appeared charged with an act of violence on restricted grounds.

Federal Magistrate Judge George Foley declined to release Sandford, who appeared before him in leg irons, over concerns he was a potential danger to the community and a flight risk.

A federal public defender told the court he was autistic and Sandford didn't enter a plea. His mother told the judge he had been treated for obsessive compulsive disorder and anorexia as a youngster.

According to court research Sandford didn't have permission to be in the US and was unemployed. Papers filed at the court said he had been in the country for around 18 months and lived in Hoboken, New Jersey.

 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas
Donald Trump speaking at the Treasure Island hotel and casino in Las Vegas (John Locher/AP)

He had driven across the US to San Bernardino, California, and had been living out of his car before travelling on to Las Vegas on Thursday.

On Friday he visited he Battlefield Vegas shooting range where he practised using a 9mm Glock pistol, firing off 20 rounds.

The following day he went to the Treasure Island Casino where Trump was addressing a rally of 1,500 supporters amid tight security.

People holding Trump signs
People hold signs as they wait for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to speak in Vegas (John Locher/AP)

Attendees had to pass through metal detectors manned by Secret Service, police and casino security officials.

Asking to get an autograph from the billionaire, he allegedly attempted to take a police officer's holstered gun before being tackled and frogmarched from the venue.

A secret service report said Sandford told officers he had been planning the assassination for around 12 months and believed he would die in the process.

protesters in Arizona
Protesters clash with Donald Trump supporters shortly after a Trump rally in Phoenix, which Sandford had bought a ticket for (Beatriz Costa-Lima/AP)

He had also bought a ticket to a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, for later on Saturday as a back-up.

Sandford was carrying a UK driver's licence at the time he was arrested.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing assistance following an arrest of a British national in Las Vegas."

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