Michael Sandford, 20, who suffer from a form of autism, is alleged to have tried to grab a police officer’s gun in a bid to kill Trump, the hugely controversial Republican candidate for President.
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.
Sandford, from Dorking in Surrey, bought robots which had appeared in the Robot Wars television programme, and rebuilt them for live roadshows linked to the event.
It is claimed that in 2014, at about the time he is thought to have travelled to the US, he suddenly decided to sell his collection.
Investigators will try to establish whether the sale of the robots funded his trip to America.
It came as his father Paul Davey disclosed that he had raised concerns with the US authorities over his son’s wellbeing. Sandford had travelled to the US over a year ago to be with his girlfriend but had become increasingly hard to reach.
Photographs of his bedroom at his father’s home in Havant, Hampshire, showed a room covered in camouflage netting with toy guns on the wall.
Mr Davey insisted his son would ‘never harm a fly’ and even suggested Sandford may have been influenced or even radicalised and ‘put up’ to trying to kill Trump.
Sandford was only 15 when he bought Steel Avenger, a robot with an axe which fought in battles against other robots, for £1,500. Sandford also possessed two other robots.
John Findlay, a expert behind the original show, said he had bought and sold robots to Sandford until he suddenly “disappeared”. Mr Findlay told The Mirror: “I’m totally shocked. When I saw his picture it was just totally freaky.
He went through a phase of buying a load of robots starting around five years ago, then he just disappeared.
“He was quite active in the robot community for a while – buying famous robots from the show. He was a bit obsessed.
“I then got them working for him because he had absolutely no idea about robots.
“I believe he had some form of autism – Robot Wars attracts quite a lot of people with autism. He was calm, very quiet, a little bit weird and reserved.
Mr Findlay said Sandford, who went to The Ashcombe School in Dorking, contacted him in June 2014 saying he needed to sell his robots.
In a Facebook message Sandford wrote: “Sorry to bother you again Jonno, having a financial crisis, so it you can pay now all 3 are yours for £1500, I paid that for SA [Steel Avenger] alone.
“Please let me know again don’t mean to keep harassing you, but I’m sure you know what its’ like having no money, Thanks”
Friends and family spoke of their shock that Sandford had been arrested for plotting to kill Trump.
He travelled to the US over a year ago to stay with a girlfriend in Hoboken, New Jersey.
US prosecutors claim he then drove to California in a black BMW and then on to Nevada with the intention of “engaging in an act of physical violence against Donald J Trump”. The offence carries a 10-year jail term.
Mr Davey, 50, his father, said: “He met an American girl. Later on she moved back to the US with her parents and he got quite down and depressed about it all so we all paid for him to move out to America for a year.
“This was to get his life sorted out and so he could be with this girl. So he got a flat in New Jersey and for all we know he’s been with her.
“He’s never been very good at communicating, he’s never been interested in politics and never really been interested in much.
“Since he moved out there it became slowly harder and harder to get in touch with him. He does Skype, but it’s always with a white background behind him so you don’t know where he is.
“Because of his condition, he never talks about his private life and it’s always had quite an impact on how he behaves. He left school when he was 15 because he couldn’t cope with it all so he’s got no qualifications or job experience.
“Since he’s been out there it’s difficult to get any information out of him. About three months ago the money ran out so we sent him some more and asked him to come back.
“He’s been refusing to come back and we were worried about him, we were in contact with the American Embassy telling them we were worried about him. The American authorities said ‘he’s over 18 we can’t do anything.’
“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.”
Photographs on Mr Davey’s Facebook page show the boy’s bedroom at both his father’s and mother’s homes. The photo of the room at his father’s shows a room decorated with camouflage netting and toy guns.
Mr Davey, from Havant in Hamsphire, added: “If I asked him to name the Prime Minister he’d be able to tell me but he wouldn’t know any other politicians. I doubt he would even know who the President of the United States is.
“It will be an outside influence as to why he’s done it, he’s never been like that and it’s not something he’d do off his own back. Maybe it was a cry for help. “He would never pull the trigger of the gun if it came to it.”
Julie Debnam, 56, who lives in Dorking and whose son went to primary school with Sandford, told The Telegraph: “He was a very nice normal child growing up. He had a few issues, but in fact he was very intelligent. He didn’t have to try very hard in class, he just picked things up very quickly.
“His mother told me he’d gone to America and that she was worried about him, though she didn’t say why he’d gone there.
“I’m really shocked at what’s happened. I just couldn’t imagine Michael planning something like this. It’s so completely unexpected.”
His mother, Lynne, 41, was escorted from her home in Dorking by police on Tuesday morning.
Mark Charman, who lives in the same block as the family, told the Standard: “The last I heard was that he was going to the US with his girlfriend. I am utterly gobsmacked by this.
“I can’t believe it’s the same person. He is such a calm, pleasant guy and he never expressed any political views to me really. He would stop in the corridor and we would have chats.
“He loved metalwork and is a bright lad. The fact he is so normal and from Dorking makes this so strange.”
On Monday Sandford 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 did not enter a plea.
The judge was also told he had been treated for obsessive compulsive disorder and anorexia as a youngster. According to court research Sandford did not 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. 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.
Attendees had to pass through metal detectors manned by Secret Service, police and casino security officials. One of those in the crowd, Gregg Donovan, said he had briefly spoken to Sandford while they queued and he seemed “strange”.
Asking to get an autograph from the billionaire, Sandford allegedly attempted to take a police officer’s holstered gun before being tackled and frogmarched from the venue.
Video footage shows Sandford being escorted from the building while Trump, speaking into a microphone and addressing the rally, says: “Thank you officers. Thank you.”
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.
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.”
Side Note: I sure do hope this man can get the help he needs. There are thousands maybe even millions of people out there who suffer from autism and we the people already know vaccines are the major cause of it. How can we vaccinate our children with vaccines that are given to us by a government we do not trust? We must stop and save our children. Some children and grandchildren about lost their loved one because of the unstable mind of an individual who clearly needs medical and psychological help.