Oxford graduate arrested after Christmas lights incident

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An Oxford graduate, Bethan Tichborne, has been charged by police over an incident at an event in Witney, where David Cameron appeared to switch on the town’s Christmas lights.

On Friday 30 November, the twenty eight year old allegedly attempted to climb over a barrier at the ceremony. She was then charged with obstructing or resisting a constable in the execution of their duty and of using threatening words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress. The Prime Minister, who took part in his Oxfordshire constituency’s event, was on the stage with Father Christmas at the time.

A Thames Valley Police spokeswoman has confirmed that the charges against Miss Tichborne are in connection with the incident in Witney, which occurred at 7pm. It is, however, unclear as to what Miss Tichborne’s intentions actually were. Tom Ashby, a second year undergraduate reading History and Politics at Keble College, said, “It seems to me rather striking that Miss Tichborne here is charged with causing ‘alarm and distress’ whilst the current First Lord of the Treasury, Mr Cameron, seems to be getting away scot-free.”

Miss Tichborne graduated from Oxford University four years ago, having completed a course in Philosophy and Italian. She is currently involved with anti-sweatshop campaigning and has worked as a care assistant in the past. She is also a poet and was short-listed for the prestigious Melita Hume Poetry Prize in the June of this year. An entry on the website for this award stated that Miss Tichborne is ‘currently preparing for a trip to Afghanistan to write a book about young peace activists living in Kabul’.

Miss Tichborne has been released on bail and is due to appear at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 19 December. However, her actions at the event in Witney do not seem to have lessened Mr Cameron’s enjoyment. He later posted a picture of himself and Father Christmas in the act of turning on the lights at the ceremony on Twitter, stating that it was ‘good to see so many people at the turning on of the Christmas lights in my constituency tonight’.

On reading the charges against Miss Tichborne, first year law student Andrew Hall said, “Quite how climbing over a barrier can cause harassment, alarm or distress is a little baffling. If Mr Cameron felt any of these – and I concede that he might – then oughtn’t we wonder what kind of man this country is led by?”

First year English student, Rebecca Simpson, commented, ‘I thought the Prime Minister was all for helping people overcome their barriers. So much for the ‘Big Society!”

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