Family Arrested After Burglar Stabbed to Death

Attacker provokes his own death

Four burglars, some in balaclavas, tried to break into a house in Salford.  Inside were 59-year-old Neil Flanagan, his 27-year-old son son, Peter and Peter’s girlfriend.

After a struggle, the attackers  ran away, but one of them, John Bennell, 27, was found lying in the street, bleeding from a stab wound.  He later died in hospital.

The Flanagans called the police, who then arrested them.

That’s all we know about the case, but it raises major issues.  How far is a person entitled to go in defence of the family home?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a martial arts expert or anything like that.  I wouldn’t be able to exert “reasonable force” against an attacker because I wouldn’t know how.  If somebody was breaking into my house – and I have had this experience twice – I’d make as much noise as possible, and if that failed, I’d have to bash them over the head with a heavy object or use some other weapon, for fear of being killed myself.  Luckily, in my own experience, the robbers fled but that isn’t always the case.

How do you stop robbers?  How do you restrain them?

These days, with so many people out of their heads on demented chemicals, it’s not a simple question.

Reasonable force is for self-defence experts. The rest of us have little option but to go for the extremes.   And I have to tell you that if people were trying to enter my home with violence, I would have no hesitation offering them violence in return.  Neither would you, I suspect.

Therefore, while it is certainly tragic for his family  that the 26-year-old burglar lost his life, I think he brought it on himself.

To put it more succinctly, fuck him.

22 thoughts on “Family Arrested After Burglar Stabbed to Death

  1. It is not tragic the cunt lost his life, it should be celebrated, fuck him and every other waah cunt like him, I have a hurley under my bed and used to play in my youth and I wouldn’t hesitate to crack open an intruding scumfucks head open. This shouldn’t even go to court, sending out a message to scobes everywhere.

  2. An extremely terrifying experience for anyone at the best of times. Seems they struggled at the back door which is usually near the kitchen so what would you grab in the situation!
    Me I’d probably throw the Mrs at them.

  3. It’s hard to know how you might react until your actually confronted with a situation like this, in my case ( prowler with flashlight sussing me house through front window ) the reaction was instinctive and adrenline fueled , the ‘red-mist’ effect, by the time I’d grabbed me ‘reasonable force ‘ weapon of choice ( Old style baseball bat ) and gave chase he’d outrun me , a very lucky prowler because frankly I’m not sure what I’d have done . Cops told me, off the record , that I’d done the rifgt thing and that’d be the last we’d see of him, they were right . The situation above sounds far more serious, but I feel that your entitled to use whatever force you deem nessessary when defending your home or more importantly your family . No sympathy from me either , sad to say, buts that the world we live in.

  4. Why “Sad to say” B? In fact it’s far from sad to say, as was pointed out, when someone intrudes on your space and therefore threatens your existence, they leave their human rights at the window they’ve just broken to gain access to your home.

  5. I completely agree, possibly badly worded there Ronwan , no holds barred, as far I’m concerned…did’nt want to come over as a being totally ruthless, though . ( not sure why ) because in situations like this, I am.
    ( more of a ‘turn of phrase’ to be honest )

  6. You got to understand that the police the judiciary and the criminals are buddies…work mates in fact.They dont like outsiders getting involved.Victims need to understand their place in the system and if they dont they will soon be taught where their place is.

  7. A nasty business and it’s indeed hard to feel any sympathy for the dead man (though it is debatable if what he did warranted death, but I suppose that’s another argument)

    But the law may take another view; reasonable force is, if I recall, (and I could be wrong) only an allowable defence if you can demonstrate that it was used as a last resort; that is to say if you find yourself under physical attack from an assailant and have no exit, you may use the minimum force necessary (up to and including lethal force) to protect your life or the live of another person in your home. In this case I would be worried that the letter of the law (the home owner was obliged to withdraw as he had at least one viable exit available via the front door) will be used by some bleeding heart prosecutor.

    It’s kind of a bitch because as B pointed out the red mist can come upon people in times like this (my flight/fight reaction has always – and often to my detriment – been “fight” and in many ways it’s unreasonable to expect someone whose house is being broken into to stop and think what to do!

    One can only hope that at least one of the burglars threatened to kill someone before they were themselves attacked; that will at least provide the necessary grounds for self-defence OR that they can demonstrate that at least one of them was not able to retreat.

    Now this next bit might sound condescending but here is my 2 cents of advice. Because break-ins are a reality and as we know in this city they often happen in broad daylight – be aware that it can happen to you. Take some time and think about how it might happen. Look at the entry points of your house, and run through scenarios where you are in location X when someone breaks in via location Y. Form a plan of action as to how you and your family can exit as quickly as possible and raise the alarm.

    Include scenarios where you find yourself trapped and decide how you will handle this. DO NOT plan to attack the burglar. You may end up taking the proverbial knife to a gunfight. A coked up thief can take a lot of punishment before he goes down; and unfortunately the law is the law and you do not want a murder conviction on your head even if you had the moral high-ground!

    If you find yourself trapped, the best thing to do is get something between you and the burglar,put your hands up and make it clear you will not get in his way and LEAVE at the first opportunity, if you have kids lock yourself in the room with them. Then call 999.
    Be neither aggressive or submissive as submission can embolden the burglar and lead him to hanging around for longer. The longer he is there the greater the risk of things getting nasty.
    Easier to say this of course, but it could save your life. Trust me, a TV or jewelery is not worth dying for or killing for. Get house insurance…

    Just by running these scenarios through your head every now and then, silly as they may seem, will mean that if it ever does happen (and I hope it never does) then when the adrenaline kicks in you will not just be making a snap decision; you’ll be making the right one and one that you have already trained yourself for.

  8. What was that case a few years back in U$A, where a burglar fell through a skylight above a kitchen and landed on a upright knife on a breadboard.

    He was able to sue the family – don’t know what happened in the end….

    As for an intruder, I agree totally with Ronwan – the person waives his/her human rights and the law that protects them at the door / window / wall / fence or what ever boundary they cross into someones property.

    The victims that do act in self defense should be commended.

  9. Turns out the prick was on bail for another burgulary as he was kicking in the back door of the house! Looks like the father is still in custody and the on and girlfriend have been released!!

  10. Zero sympathy for the stabbed.
    In the emigrant 80s our Dad was away for a year at a time. My mother slept with a shotgun under her bed. Every morning it was unloaded and put away.
    In the countryside 999 can take up to an hour to get a guard.
    I saw her point it at someone once. A creep there to make a pass at her. When words wouldn’t work she calmly took it down (unloaded) and let’s say,” encouraged” him out of the house.
    She’s a tough nut.

  11. @rob

    Is that because the Mrs would be either washing dishes at the sink, cleaning the floor, or cooking? Either way, she would be in her rightful place, in the kitchen, ready to be lobbed at intruders? ; )

  12. EastGalwayWoman…In “modern and progressive” Ireland if your Mother pointed a gun at a creep in her home she would find the place surrounded by armed Gardai in ten minutes and end up in a cell if lucky or in a morgue if not.If however she phoned the Gardai about the creep in her home expect them to call sometime in the next week or maybe not at all.In nanny states citizens are expected to be dependent on the state and the state takes a serious view of people who want to look after themselves.Seeing them as a far greater threat to the power and authority of the state than the criminals are and so give priority to putting them back in their “place”.Oh and lets not forget that there are a lot of well paid people whose jobs and status in society depend on there being a lot of criminals around so its not really in their interest to see criminals being knocked off by joe public and others becoming deterred.

  13. William, you’re probably right!
    However, make sure to telephone ahead will you, before you arrive on her doorstep /grin

  14. A friend in Dublin confronted an intruder in his parents home as he came in through the bedroom window, he lay still, called the boys in blue, followed him through to the kitchen with a pool cue, where the intruder calmly unlocked the back door and took the bar off it, and persuaded my friend he was in the wrong house, and that he probably didn’t want to hit him with the pool cue, (correct, adrenaline over sense)

    Intruder walked outside to waiting friend with spare bike cycled away with nothing before the gardia arrived, no big surprise. (good idea not to use the pool cue if friend was outside )

    Scumbag intruder spotted a few weeks later in the centre of Dublin, my buddy followed him called the Gards, had him arrested, probably got a caution.

    Scumbag is in your house fight or flight kicks in anything goes really, anyone coming in my home would have anything handy lobbed at them and would’nt care about the consequences. Fair game as soon as you enter.

  15. To my mind a burglar accepts a substantial risk of retaliation when he breaks into someone’s home, and I would give people a very wide berth in the actions they can take to evict such trespassers.

    Having said that, you can’t knock burglars out, tie them up in you basement, and call Zed either so there are certainly limits to these things.

    Regardless of that in the event of a death of this kind, regardless of the circumstances, I would expect everyone to be taken down to the station anyway.

  16. I would use whatever force was necessary. If the scumbag dies, boot of the car to the nearest river with a counter weight.

  17. No one should have to go any further than their front door to defend themselves. If a burglar, thief, murderer means to do you harm they leave their rights at your front stoop and take their own lives in their hands. It’s that simple. In my mind the castle law is basic common sense and proper law.

  18. More to the point,
    The latest Irish Home defense bill specifically includes the curtilage of the dwelling in the act defining it as being equal to in matters of the bill as the building itself.
    Therefore the castle defense applies to anything within the curtilage of the premises, basically inside the boundary, excluding areas where the public have a right to access (Street etc.).
    So Trainy’s point above regarding the front door is moot under the Irish Law (which by the way as of the minute has got as far as :
    “That the Bill be referred to the Select Committee on Justice, Defence and Women’s Rights, in accordance with Standing Order 122(1) and paragraph 1(a)(i) of the Orders of Reference of that committee.) but has beenrestored (Whatever that means) as of the 24th March.

    Your driveway, your front garden, the garage, the gazebo All part of your castle.
    Step off the footpath inside someones front gate and you’re on your own. They have the right to chase or defend against someone to the boundary of their property.

    The provision regarding who has the right to defend a property is interesting. A “lawful occupant” can defend the property or the property of another as follows:

    (i)to protect himself or herself or another person present in the dwelling from injury, assault, detention or death caused by a criminal act,
    15 (ii) to protect his or her property or the property of another person from appropriation, destruction or damage caused by a criminal act, or
    (iii) to prevent the commission of a crime or to effect, or assist in effecting, a lawful arrest.

  19. Brilliant article, bock, the last part especially was spot on. My thoughts exactly.

  20. Well, yes they were arrested, someone was dead. You have to arrest them until you at least know what happened – being arrested doesn’t mean an automatic jail sentence.

    As to Castle doctrine and the Home defence bill, it’s horse hockey. We’ve had castle doctrine in Ireland (and the UK ) since 1329 – and DPP-v-Barnes specifically cites the 1329 case when making the point that you have no duty to retreat from an attacker in your own home, and never have had such a duty.

    Why do we need a home defence bill when it does nothing more than put into statute what already exists in case law? Because it looks great from the “Politician X is Tough on Crime” PR angle.

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