A licence to shoot burglars: It”s the chance you take, judge tells two raiders who were fired on by homeowners at isolated cottage
Burglars were injured after homeowner fired his legally-owned shotgunJudge said injuries could not form part of sentence or defence
Pair, both from Leicester, were sentenced to four years in prison
Burglars who break into country homes can expect to be shot at by their victims, a judge warned yesterday.
Judge Michael Pert QC spoke out after a lawyer demanded leniency for a career criminal who he claimed had been blasted with a shotgun in ‘a form of summary justice’.
The judge replied: ‘If you burgle a house in the country where the householder owns a legally held shotgun, that is the chance you take. You cannot come to court and ask for a lighter sentence because of it.’
Burglars: Joshua O”Gorman, left, and Daniel Mansell, right, who were both jailed yesterday after they were shot by the owner of the house they were trying to steal from
The case reignited the debate over the rights of homeowners to defend their properties from intruders.
Daniel Mansell, 33, and Joshua O’Gorman, 27, were sentenced to four years in prison following the masked raid on the cottage in Welby, near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire.
Their victims, Andy and Tracey Ferrie, were arrested after Mr Ferrie opened fire on the pair during the midnight break-in.
They were held on suspicion of causinggrievous bodily harm and spent 40 hours in custody before prosecutors decided they had acted in ‘reasonable self-defence’ and lifted the threat of charges.
The couple emigrated to Australia on Monday amid fears of a revenge attack. Cannabis addict Mansell was shot in the right hand while O’Gorman was shot in the face during the incident earlier this month.
Andy Ferrie and his wife Tracey: Both were held for 40 hours after Mr Ferrie shot two burglars with a shotgun as they tried to raid his country home
Both men were out of prison on licence when they struck at the Ferries’ 200-year-old rented home.
Judge Pert backed householders’ rightsto defend their home from intruders, telling Mansell and O’Gorman: ‘I make it plain that, in my judgment, being shot is not mitigation.
“You cannot come to court and ask for a lighter sentence because of it.’
He spoke out after Andrew Frymann, defending O’Gorman, suggested his client’s ‘near death experience’ should be ‘taken into consideration’ by the judge when sentencing.
Mr Frymann said O’Gorman had suffered serious facial injuries including permanent scarring. He added: ‘He was shot – without any warning or foresight – in the face with a shotgun.
“This is a form of summary justice or punishment which I submit should be taken into consideration.’
Leicester Crown Court yesterday heard Mansell and O’Gorman fled empty-handed from the cottage and were arrested hours later when they went to hospital for treatment.
“Their injuries were clearly visible as they stood in the dock. Mansell – who has a tattoo reading ‘Big Man’ on his neck – wore his arm in a sling, and O’Gorman has a scar from his right eye to his ear.
Alan Murphy, prosecuting, said the Ferries were woken by the sound of breaking glass as the raiders forced their way into their home with a garden fork handle.
As they made their way downstairs, MrsFerrie, the registered keeper of the shotgun, handed the weapon to her husband. Mr Murphy said: ‘Mr Ferrie described seeing three men in the hall or kitchen wearing some form of face coverings.
‘One of the men was reaching into a drawer that held a number of knives. As a result Mr Ferrie fired his shotgun.’
The farmhouse in Welby, Melton Mowbray, where Andy tried to defend his home from intruders by using his shotgun
Mr Ferrie, 35, who owns a motorhome repair business, then called the police, and he and his 43-year-old wife were arrested.
O’Gorman had 16 previous convictions involving 27 offences. He was on licence at the time he broke into the cottage, having been released early from a 14-month prison sentence for dangerous driving.
Mansell has eight previous convictionsinvolving 19 offences. He was freed on licence following a conviction for causing grievous bodily harm.
Mansell and O’Gorman, both of Leicester, admitted burglary with intent to steal.
Last night Mrs Ferrie’s mother, Hazel Towell, 63, said the couple had moved to Perth in Western Australia because they feared for their safety.
Police are pictured searching the ground for clues at the remote house near Melton Mowbray. O”Gorman was shot in the face and Mansell was hit in his right hand during their attempted burglary
The retired cashier, from Burton, Staffordshire, added: ‘They’ve moved as far away as possible.
The fear was real enough for Andrew and Tracey to stay in a different hotel every night until they flew to Australia on Monday. They felt safer if they moved around.’
Tory MP Alan Duncan spoke in defence of the Ferries, his constituents, while the couple were in custody. Yesterday he welcomed the judge’s robust comments.
‘Three cheers for the judge,’ he said.‘Justice has been swift in this case and draws a clear distinction between the culprits and the victims.’
Two other men, aged 23 and 31, who were also arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary, are set to answer police bail next month.
The burglars pleaded guilty to the burglary. The judge said their injuries could not form part of their sentence or defence
Forensic officers arriving at the home after Andy Ferrie, and his wife Tracey were arrested in September