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Burglar Stabbing: Householder faces no charges

(17 Posts)
niceguy2 Sat 23-Jul-11 11:18:14

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Whilst I'm thankful that sanity seems to have prevailed, I have to wonder why the houseowner was arrested in the first place.

So 4 men come crashing into your house, one wielding a machete. You defend your home & family and in those crucial seconds you stab one of them. Sorry but I just can't see how this could have ever be seen as anything but reasonable.

In that context were the police right to arrest the homeowner straight away? Or could they have waited a bit before making an arrest?

edam Sat 23-Jul-11 11:26:00

I wonder whether the police feel obliged to arrest the householder until the facts are established? After all, a man has died. (I'm not saying the householder was wrong, he's entitled to defend himself.)

Al0uiseG Sat 23-Jul-11 11:30:53

I heard about this, I think we may have turned a corner as a society, it sends a clear message to burglars. After all in Texas you can shoot an intruder, which may explain low burglary rates there.

Wrt to the homeowner being arrested first, maybe he should have been interviewed under caution or something to establish the facts.

edam Sat 23-Jul-11 11:36:59

Yup, that would make sense, Alouise.

Family friend of ours is a builder. A yob broke into his yard one night. Friend heard (yard is opposite the house) and went out to protect his van - doesn't keep tools in it overnight but was fed up of people breaking in in the hope they'd find some. Thug refused to leave and got all smart-arse (he was with his girlfriend so obviously trying to impress her) going 'make me, then'. So friend, who is built like a brick shithouse, thumped him. But very carefully so that the lad didn't get badly hurt. Friend has hands like shovels so if he'd wanted to injure the kid, he could have done.

Friend called the cops to report the attempted break-in, and was honest about what had happened, only to be arrested himself. Bastard cops then 'persuaded' him to accept a caution without explaining the full implications. Helps their clear-up rates, I guess. All completely wrong - the yob learnt it's fine to go around trying to break into other people's premises and steal whatever you can lay your hands on, friend was left with the impression the police don't want you to defend yourself.

Gemjar Sat 23-Jul-11 11:37:32

Yes a person has the right to defend themselves and I think in this case the man was genuinely fighting back to save his life. However, it saddens me that so many people seem to think that it should be ok for them to attack anyone that breaks into their homes.

Yes no one should have their home broken into
No crime is acceptable
Yes people should be able to defend themselves and their families

but, is it really ok to take someone's life just because they are trying to steal some of your stuff? It seems that general feeling at the moment is that yes it is ok to attack someone because they have entered your home and I just think that it is sad that anyone would place their belongings at a higher value than a human life.

Although I think they did get it right in this case, I am concerned at the precedence that it is likely to set for cases in the future

Al0uiseG Sat 23-Jul-11 11:42:24

Now the burglar will have to decide if his own life is worth more than someone elses possessions.

TheCrackFox Sat 23-Jul-11 11:47:57

If I woke up in the middle of the night and there was a burglar how the hell do I know that all he wants is to steal my possessions? For all I know he might want to rape and murder me. I have no way of knowing how I would react in that set of circumstances.

edam Sat 23-Jul-11 11:55:09

Gemjar - yes, no-one should be killed unnecessarily. But TheCrackFox is right, you can't expect someone who is attacked and in imminent danger to conduct a full risk assessment. Householder are entitled to protect themselves. NOT shoot a fleeing burglar in the back or go OTT in any way, but to defend themselves against a threat.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 23-Jul-11 11:56:26

They would have had to make an arrest because a death had occurred and this would enable the police to go through the questioning procedure correctly. Arrested is very different to 'charged', of course.

Gemjar Sat 23-Jul-11 11:59:47

thecrack I appreciate that and feel the same way, but take the example used by edam, the burglar broke into a yard and not into a house, the friend decided to go and teach him a lesson for attempting to break in to his van. I am sure that the friend was well aware of what he was doing and would never have caused the kid any actual harm, but someone with less control could easily have taken the lesson too far, all because some kid was trying to impress his girlfriend and nick some tools that weren't even there!

mayorquimby Sat 23-Jul-11 14:36:16

"I heard about this, I think we may have turned a corner as a society, it sends a clear message to burglars."

Why do you think this? It's always been the case that you can use reasonable force to defend yourself and property. No corner has been turned, nothing has changed, at no point have people been getting charged and convicted for defending their homes or property.

Also of course they had to arrest the man. There was someone dead , with a person admitting to being the one who killed him. Now obviously he had a lawful reason for doing so but the cops can't just show up and accept his version of events as gospel. Everything has gone pretty much perfectly here. He was arrested, questioned and the incident was investigated. Due tot his isnvestigation they have concluded that the man has committed no crime and released him without charge.

edam Sat 23-Jul-11 14:42:11

No, Gemjar, he wasn't trying to teach the little scrote a lesson, he was protecting his property - the van. As he is fully entitled to do. He gave the scrote the chance to leave of his own accord but scrote refused. I think my family friend was fully entitled to use reasonable force at that point. And it was reasonable, as I say if our friend had wanted to harm the lad, the lad would have ended up in hospital.

mayorquimby Sat 23-Jul-11 14:44:20

"but, is it really ok to take someone's life just because they are trying to steal some of your stuff?"

Well yes and no. I wouldn't agree with the death penalty for burglary.
However if someone breaks into my house and is in the process of stealing my possessions the following scenarios may occur:
I may honestly believe that his presence in my house is an aggressive act and fear for my safety and so use reasonable force given the situation as i perceive it. If i fear for my life then using force which is likely to cause serious injury or death is reasonable.
I may use reasonable force to prevent the commission of a crime. This includes stealing my stuff. If i believe that a punch is enough to stop him from stealing my possessions then that is the force i can use. However what if he is intent on stealing my stuff even after I punch him etc. If it somehow comes to a situation where by he has left me with the choice of killing him or letting him make off with my posessions, well then the force which is reasonable to stop him from committing the crime may mean death. In which case yes I think it is reasonable to take someones life if they have decided to put me in the position of either killing them or allowing myself to be robbed.

If however I am in a position where by I have somehow disabled them or where by I no longer feel they are a threat to my safety (e.g. running away outside of the house) then I can't decide they deserve to die simply by reason of the fact that they are burglars.

creighton Sun 24-Jul-11 14:06:55

I don't think anyone deserves to be killed for stealing property but the reality is that the householder is afraid and acting to protect him/herself and then their property. No one knows what the intention of an intruder is until they put their hands on you or your things. Most people, who don't indulge in streetfighting, do not know what reasonable force is and have to act swiftly to protect themselves against someone whose 'career' is to invade, intimidate and hurt others.

I think the police have to arrest the householder if someone dies, but you hope that they act using commonsense and even compassion. I tend to feel less and less sympathy for people who hurt others as I get older. Criminals know what they are doing and clearly don't care about the consequences for their victims.

niceguy2 Sun 24-Jul-11 14:11:05

My point is that by arresting the householder, they instantly send out the wrong signals. An interview under caution would have been better than an arrest.

After all, the facts are four men broke into your house. One armed with a machete. You have to ask what THEIR intent was. Obviously they were prepared to use violence if they wanted to.

maypole1 Sun 24-Jul-11 15:03:45

Its hocking he was arrested in the first place I don't care even if he set on the bugler with a base ball ball bat

The police should be sending a clear message if you break in to someones house you may get a hiding and then after your beating the police will be arresting you not the householder and if you try and press charges you will also be done for wasting police time

edam Sun 24-Jul-11 15:30:33

clearly people who break into other people's houses armed with machetes deserve very little sympathy.

But... I interviewed a double murderer recently. He served 26 years. While in prison, he met a teacher who managed to turn him round, and he got an education. He says - and I don't know how much of this is special pleading - that when he started stealing, aged about 11, he used to look at the lights in the houses of an evening and think 'how can I be like them? How can I have a family?' He had no idea how to be normal, how he could have a house to live in or parents to care for him. He was in care (and ran away) and thought he'd been put away because he was bad, rather than because his mother was dead and his father was bad.

He told me that he is deeply ashamed and everything he does now is an act of atonement in some way. Although he recognises that nothing he does can undo the damage.

I don't really know what the message is, or what on earth the families of his victims feel about it. Except that children from troubled homes, children who are neglected or abused or who are in care deserve a hell of a lot more than we, as a society, do for them.

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