Pensioner who killed burglar backs government stance

Flashback to February 2002: How the Lincolnshire Free Press reported the fatal incident
Flashback to February 2002: How the Lincolnshire Free Press reported the fatal incident
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A SPALDING pensioner, still haunted by the day he stabbed and killed a burglar to protect his family, says it is right the Government should support homeowners acting in self-defence.

The man, who wanted to remain anonymous because some members of his family do not know of his ordeal, has only praise for the way local police and the courts treated him after he stabbed an intruder with his own knife in a desperate struggle.

He said: “I was never treated as a criminal and that was right. All I could think of was that I had to protect my family. The support I received from the police and members of the public helped me through and I was cleared by the court and did eventually return to work.

“It has taken years and help from a psychiatrist to be able to shut it to the back of my head and get on with my life.

“I have not been watching reports on the Government plans on television – I have to switch over because it brings it all back.

“My family never mention it now and nor do the neighbours - but I will never really be able to forget it. How could you?”

“It is right the Government is looking at changing the law so people who go through what I did do not have to worry about being prosecuted.

“No-one should have to go through that.”

The topic has been a vote grabber at this week’s Tory conference in Birmingham, when Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said homeowners who “bash a burglar” - even if they shoot or stab one in the heat of the moment - will escape prosecution.

According to Mr Grayling they will be allowed to use “disproportionate” force while fearing for their safety. However, if householders use “grossly disproportionate” force, they face being hauled before court.

Mr Grayling told the conference he will be binning Ken Clark’s soft-touch community sentences. Current laws only allow people to use “reasonable force” against intruders.

He said: “Being confronted by an intruder in your home is terrifying. The public should be in no doubt the law is on their side.”

Sgt Stuart Hurst, of Spalding police, said: “I am a local resident as well as town sergeant and I have challenged people on and off duty - that is expected of me.

“It is hard for me to comment on this because we have to act within the law and do not want to encourage vigilante action.

“Until the Government changes the law that will not change here.”

Insp Chris Davison said: “Burglary remains rare in Lincolnshire and, while it is important that each case is always investigated on its own merit, this judgement will provide helpful guidance for our colleagues in the CPS.”