Filmmaker Gia Milinovich, Brian Cox’s wife, punched burglar in the face: ‘I threw everything into it like a heavyweight’

Gia Milinovich put her self-defence skills to good use after an intruder broke into her family home

Filmmaker and television presenter Gia Milinovich – who is married to science Professor Brian Cox – punched a burglar in the face after he broke into her London home.

In a blog for her website, entitled I Punch First, Milinovich, 44, recalled the incident which took place on 22 May. Her husband was away for the evening, when she was awoken by a sound in her son’s bedroom.

Initially, she believed the noise to have been her older son coming home late, so walked straight into the room to find a stranger standing there. She decided swiftly to put her self-defence training to good use and “punched first”.

“The one thing I know about self-defence (rather than boxing) is that you need to fight for your life,” she wrote.

“There’s no ‘being nice’. There’s no ‘maybe I can talk my way out of this’. There’s no ‘let’s just see what happens here’. You must approach it with a ‘kill or be killed’ attitude.

“I had no idea if that man was armed, if he would try and attack me, if he would try and rape me, if he would try and kill me. Life or death stuff. I wasn’t going to wait to find out.”

Her ensuing actions were instinctive.

“I immediately ran into the room, shouting (and not a ‘girly’ scream, but a deep, loud, roaring, dominant boom), got in close and right-hooked him to the face,” she continued.

“It wasn’t a technically brilliant punch (my second and third knuckles were bruised). I didn’t punch to score points from judges. I didn’t punch and snap back ready to punch again to continue the fight until the end of the round. I threw everything into it like a heavyweight does- a big, full-bodied, ‘you’re going fucking down! My fist shoulder and whole body are going straight through your fucking head’ whallop.”

The intruder made a “well, that really wasn’t very nice at all sound”, pushed past Milinovic and ran downstairs as she chased him outside.

She then dialled 999 and police caught the burglar on CCTV. He was charged, pleaded guilty and on Friday 27 June, and was sentenced to eight months in prison.

She says she’d “probably” do the same thing again if confronted with the same situation, although doesn’t recommend others doing so without training as “your punch isn’t going to have much of an effect which would open you up to being attacked”.

“The police officer who was dealing with my case said that he had never had another case where someone punched a burglar,” she said.

“All of the officers I spoke to asked ‘Are you the one who punched him?… Well done!’ They said they wished more people were like me and had some kind of self-defence training in order to know how to handle themselves in these unusual situations.”