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Pensioner must pay burglar pounds 4,000

An 82-year-old man was yesterday ordered to pay pounds 4,000 compensation for shooting a burglar who was threatening to break into his allotment shed. After the ruling Ted Newbery said: ''It looks like I have become the victim now.''

The High Court hearing was told that Mark Revill, 27, and another man decided to break into Mr Newbery's shed in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, in 1988, where they knew that he kept television sets, a washing machine and clocks.

Mr Newbery, a retired hospital porter, had turned the shed into a fortress and had slept there for four years to protect it. He awoke on the night of the break-in to hear a voice saying: ''If you are in there, you old bastard, we are having you.''

Mr Newbery poked his 12 bore shotgun through a spyhole and fired, blowing a hole through Mr Revill's arm into his chest. Had the wound been an inch either side he would have died.

Mr Revill, from Ilkeston, was later jailed for six months. A jury acquitted Mr Newbery. Mr Revill sued for damages for his injuries and yesterday Mr Justice Rougier ruled that Mr Newbery was negligent.

But he allowed Mr Newbery's counter-claim for shock and distress and ordered Mr Revill to pay him pounds 400 - ruling that the shooting was two-thirds Mr Revill's fault and one third Mr Newbery's.

He said: ''Mr Newbery has to face the obvious question as to why he did not scare off the intruders by some less drastic means. He could have switched on the light.

''To poke a shotgun through a hole and fire it with the knowledge that there are people outside constitutes negligence to the point of recklessness.''

The judge awarded Mr Revill pounds 11,000 for his injuries, pounds 1,000 for ''hardship on the labour market'' and pounds 100 medical expenses. But he ordered that as he was also to blame, he should receive only pounds 4,033.

Nigel Chappell, for Mr Revill, said: ''He has suffered some fairly traumatic injuries and I do not need to emphasise the extent of them. It has ruined his life.''