Burglars raid home of DPP chief and steal computers

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The Independent Online

England's senior prosecutor has been burgled as he slept upstairs with his family, two months after he told homeowners they were entitled to use reasonable force against intruders.

England's senior prosecutor has been burgled as he slept upstairs with his family, two months after he told homeowners they were entitled to use reasonable force against intruders.

Ken Macdonald QC, the director of public prosecutions, lost a laptop and two computers belonging to his wife, Linda, a television producer, after thieves smashed through a ground-floor window at the back of his north London home this week.

The Crown Prosecution Service said there was no sensitive information on the laptop, which they described as Mr Macdonald's property rather than a work machine.

The DPP and two of his three children slept through the break-in at home in Kentish Town. They discovered the theft after they woke on Tuesday.

A CPS spokeswoman said: "There was no material relating to any cases. The only things relating to the CPS were drafts of various speeches he has given."

Scotland Yard said: "[The break-in] took place between 11pm and 8.30am. Scenes of crime officers attended and it is now a matter for the burglary squad."

The spokesman would not comment on whether it appeared the house was deliberately targeted because of Mr Macdonald's position or was chosen as a matter of chance.

Mr Macdonald, 52, became DPP in November 2003. He is a friend of Cherie Blair, and both lawyers were founder members of the left-leaning human rights specialist Matrix Chambers.

At the launch in February of new guidelines for householders confronted with a burglar he reassured residents that they had every right to defend themselves against burglars. Mr Macdonald said there had been cases where householders had shot or stabbed burglars to death or hit them over the head with baseball bats or metal bars and not been prosecuted.

"If you are confronted by a burglar in your own home and you fear yourself and members of your family are about to be attacked, you are entitled to take action to incapacitate that burglar," he said. "The key thing to bear in mind is that, as long as someone hasn't stepped over that line into retribution or revenge, it is quite difficult to perceive of a level of violence that would not be regarded as reasonable by a prosecutor.

"The law is on the side of the householder. We aim to reassure them if they act honestly and instinctively, this will be the strongest evidence that they have acted lawfully and in self-defence."

Mr Macdonald was said to be in the Netherlands last night "working on a business matter".