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.