A ‘VERY bright’ PhD student who took a gun out of his car at the John Radcliffe Hospital, prompting a major police response and widescale alarm, has been let off with a fine.

Benedict Tanudjojo, of London Road, Headington, was 'like a child with a new toy' when he got his new Colt air pistol on August 28, Oxford Magistrates' Court heard yesterday.

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Having bought it just that day, he 'didn't want to put it down' and tried to take it back into work with him at Oxford's biggest hospital to have a closer look, his lawyer said.

But when he took it out of his car in the car park, a woman saw the air pistol and started restraining him.

Oxford Mail:

Armed police arrived soon after and NHS staff at the JR, already busy trying to battle the coronavirus pandemic, were told to stay in their departments.

At Oxford Magistrates' Court yesterday, the student's barrister Gregory Bull told the court: "He has a genuine interest in shooting and he is part of Oxford Shooting School.

"He purchased the pistol earlier that day from Goldsmiths in Feltham. His mistake was that he left it in the car and then made his way into the hospital.

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"He tried to take the gun into the hospital so he could examine it in private – a bit like a child with a new toy, unable to put it down."

Mr Bull said: "A member of the public saw the gun and acted in the way to restrain him.

"This weapon was not pointed at anybody."

As a result of the incident, which caused panic at the hospital, Tanudjojo was temporarily banned from the site where he is studying for his doctorate degree.

Mr Bull told the magistrates: "A very talented and bright student has now been banned from the hospital.

"He has now been banned for nearly a month."

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The 25-year-old French national also had to spend the night at the police station.

Mr Bull described the gun enthusiast as ‘highly, highly talented’, and revealed he had done his bachelors degree at Cardiff before moving to Oxford University.

He went on: "It would be a tragedy for our community at large if the sentence would deter the university from continuing his studies."

He also promised the magistrates that Tanudjojo would not be ‘foolish’ enough to get a gun out in public again.


The sitting magistrate in the hearing reassured Mr Bull and his client: "It is akin to carrying a knife, which carries a custodial sentence [but] I am not considering custody."

Instead, she said she would look at a community order with unpaid work – the lowest recommended sentence for carrying a weapon.

However, Mr Bull argued against even this more lenient sentence, saying: "The effect of a community sentence would damage his prospects and would send the wrong message to the college and to the hospital."

The magistrate then conceded, saying: "It was a really stupid moment of madness. I am confident it is unlikely to happen again."

She said the sentence would be ‘equivalent’ to a community order and fined him £400.

He was also ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £40.