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Grandfather gave burglar "a good hiding"
A BRAVE homeowner tackled a burglar whose barrister admitted yesterday that he deserved a good hiding for breaking into the house.
And last night John Reid, 59, who wrestled the burglar to the ground outside his home, said the Government should look at the root causes of crime rather than encourage householders to “bash a burglar”.
Kieron Lewis was punched in the face by grandfather-ofthree Mr Reid when he caught him snooping around his property in Middlesbrough, in the early hours of the morning.
Mr Reid twice felled the 25- year-old, but the intruder eventually broke free. He left behind a training shoe, his keys and a mountain bike.
The case comes in the week that the Government revealed plans to give more legal protection to householders who use force when confronted by burglars.
Lewis’ lawyer, Duncan McReddie, told Teesside Crown Court: “He feels Mr Reid would have been entirely within his rights to give him a good hiding.”
A games console and a mountain bike taken in the 12.30am raid on June 24 were later found at the home of accomplice Craig Hibberd, 38.
The pair later pleaded guilty to burglary, and Lewis was jailed for three years and four months while his friend was jailed for 14 months.
Lewis, of Parliament Walk, Stockton, was a third-strike burglar and was liable to a minimum three-year term, Sharon Elves, prosecuting, told the court.
He has 63 offences on his record while his co-accused has amassed 132 – including 77 theft-related crimes and a serious wounding.
Brian Russell, mitigating, said: “I can’t claim his record does him any favours. It was stupid. He just gets drunk and behaves in a way he doesn’t normally.”
Speaking for Hibberd, he said: “This was a fairly one-off situation where he had too much to drink.”
Hibberd, of Warwick Street, Middlesbrough, was told by the judge that he had an appalling record for offences of dishonesty and Lewis was told he left his victim traumatised.
Speaking at home after the court hearing, Mr Reid, a Mind charity shop manager and father-of-two, said he had not been able to sleep properly for weeks after the incident.
His wife, Christine, had hurt herself falling over a bike abandoned by Lewis.
Mr Reid explained he and his wife were up at about 12.30am watching a film when they heard noises in their new extension.
He investigated and saw two men escaping out of the front windows. One got out, but he grabbed the other.
He said: “Without thinking about it I pulled him to the floor and belted him a few times. He didn’t hurt me, he was just trying to get away. He didn’t say anything, but before he pulled away he took a look at me, right in my eyes.
“I know (David) Cameron’s had this bash a burglar line but, really, if I’d thought about it, I probably wouldn’t have done it.
“Maybe if burglars think they’re going to be attacked they’ll carry weapons. Perhaps we should look at root causes of crime. I’m not the judge, but I think this lad deserves his sentence; looking at his record he’s a bad lad.”