Oxford graduate charged over Cameron Christmas lights incident

Bethan Tichborne, a recent Oxford graduate, attempted to climb over police barriers last Friday as David Cameron stood on stage with Santa Claus in preparation for the switching-on of the town’s Christmas lights.

Ms Tichborne has subsequently been charged for causing disorder at the event, which took place in the Prime Minister’s constituency of Witney.

According to Thames Valley Police, Ms Tichborne “has been charged with one count of obstructing/resisting a constable in execution of their duty and one count of using threatening words/behaviour to cause harassment alarm or distress.”

Thames Valley Police have confirmed the arrest was in connection with the incident at the Christmas lights event around 7pm last Friday, but the exact motives behind the disturbance remain unclear.

It is understood that Ms Tichborne was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize last year, a competition hosted by a London-based publishing company. According to the award’s website, she lives in a co-op in East Oxford and graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Italian in 2008.

She has also worked as a care assistant and anti-sweatshop campaigner, as well as writing an article about dissent in China for the New Internationalist.

Eugene, a first-year student from St John’s, commented: “The lady has an impressive record of activism, and a lot of experience helping in care homes…all very commendable stuff.”

However he disapproved of her casting a damper on such a festive occasion: “I do think that this quasi-puritan move to try and obstruct a lighting ceremony, where people are just having a good time, rather detracts from what she is campaigning against.”

He speculated: “If she wants more equality, more happiness, yet she’s misanthropically obstructing a fun occasion, it does seem to suggest some inconsistency, or to paraphrase Emma Goldman, the famous anarchist’s dictum: ‘If I can’t dance in your revolution, I don’t want it.’”

Ms Tichborne has been released on bail and will appear before Oxford Magistrates’ Court on 19th December.