Elderly farmer in UK acquitted of shooting would be burglar

This reads like an onion article. Does anyone from the UK want to defend this prosecution? Is the anti-gun sentiment that bad that you all want to prosecute this old man?

He was an elderly man who couldn’t see what he was shooting at. Burglar or not, and the evidence for that is slim for the Courts, let alone for the man at the time; that sounds like reckless discharge of a firearm to me.

I don’t think you know what the word “acquitted” means.

There’s no evidence that the man shot or his driver were committing burglary. They both denied it, and said they were out “lamping”, i.e., hunting at night using a spotlight. In any case, burglary would not be a good enough reason for shooting someone in England: you need to fear physical harm to yourself or to someone else in the situation.

The justification given for self defense was that the vehicle was driving towards him without headlights on, and that the vehicle might hit him. That seems like a good enough reason to aim low and fire, presumably hoping to hit the vehicle’s tyres: it would be a proportionate response. The fact that someone’s foot got in the way – a foot that would be invisible because the vehicle had no lights – is unfortunate, but mostly the fault of the two out hunting at night near someones farm.

This updated article says he was indeed acquitted.

The jury took only 24 minutes to deliberate.

He was acquitted so I’m assuming there is information provided in court that was not presented in the report - but I’m having trouble with this.

“'I walked across what I thought was the front of a vehicle,” he said.

“It revved up loudly and drove towards me. It petrified me. I did not see any people. I heard nothing at all.”

So an 83 year-old, with a limp bad enough to require an arm-brace cane - and carrying a double-barrelled shotgun - walks in front of a car that “[revs] up loudly and drives towards [him]” (emphasis added) and he somehow shoots at the side of the vehicle and then up into the air.

How spry is this guy that he can have a car driving toward him and still get out of the way, level a shotgun (gamey leg and all) fire one shot and then a second, aimed much higher?

It adds not up to me.

Elderly English farmers regard shotguns as simple extensions of their good right arms.
With the excellent range of trench-diggers now available, I sometimes wonder if the dreadful record of sin in the smiling and beautiful countryside accounts for at least some of the missing persons in our fair land.
“Nae Maister, I did hear sum car around 3 in the mornin’, but it speeded up and I 'eard no more. These poor old ears aren’t up to much. Sounded like a BMW Z4 Roadster to me.”

After years of reading about people in Britain being prosecuted for giving the slightest opposition to home invasions and burglaries, I’m glad to hear that a jury decided not to play their part in that game. All too often it is "well sure they were invading your home, stealing your things and assaulting you, but when you struck back, you went too far!"

Any chance of a cite?

As The Great Unwashed said, cite?

I’m 63, have lived in England all my life, read a newspaper daily and have no idea what Chimera is referring to.

I’m sure you remember Tony Martin.

Martin wasn’t prosecuted for “giving the slightest opposition to home invasions and burglaries”; he was prosecuted for lying in wait with a loaded shotgun and shooting a fleeing burglar in the back (as well as certain other firearms offences).

I was looking for a cite for what **Chimera **said.

Not really an accurate description of this case.

Here, the old man was awoken by lights outside, so he went and fetched a gun, loaded it and then scampered outside to go hunting for the most dangerous game of all: man.

He then, out in the open air, shot an innocent man in the foot, regardless of what snide insinuations the defence brief might make about the victim’s past. Then he played the doddering old man act for sympathy in court.

So now, this dangerous gun-toting psychopath is free to strike again.


I posted the old link. The man was acquitted on Friday.

From some of the comments in this thread, I guess the anti-gun attitude in the UK is deeper than I thought. I don’t think this man would have been arrested in the most anti-gun jurisdictions of the United States.

There is mention on some of the boards that he will lose his permit to own a shotgun in the UK despite being cleared.

Tire damage does not stop a car the way you think it does. Nor does damaging the engine, the most foolproof way to stop a car is to incapacitate the driver, except in movies where their foot always goes limp on the gas pedal.

Is lamping/spotlighting actually legal? It is not in many US states, or only for certain species (AFAIK always illegal for deer, for example).

FYI no-one in the UK gives much of a fuck about US gun laws. If only that worked the other way round.

Nobody, bar a few cranks, wants your ridiculous gun laws. Especially not ‘License to Murder’ Stand your ground laws.

He actually said that he shot the gun to frighten them off. However, if a vehicle is apparently driving towards you in the dark with its lights off, and you have a loaded shotgun in your hand, you don’t have much time to think about what is the best response.

By ‘attitude’ do you actually mean ‘law’?

Anti-gun sentiment in the UK is indeed quite high but there’s a huge dichotomy between the urban majority and the rural minority.