Jail for burglars shot by homeowner

 

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The Independent Online

Two burglars shot by a homeowner who was later arrested were both jailed for four years today.

Joshua O'Gorman and Daniel Mansell, who have a string of previous convictions between them, pleaded guilty to the break-in at the home of Andy Ferrie in Welby, near Melton Mowbray, in the early hours of September 2.

Mansell, 33, and O'Gorman, 27, both from Leicester, were injured during the confrontation in the remote cottage after being caught red-handed.

Mr Ferrie, 35, and his wife Tracey, 43, were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm after he called police to tell them he had fired his shotgun at the intruders.

The couple were later bailed and told they would not face criminal charges.

The burglars were jailed at Leicester Crown Court today.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Michael Pert QC told them the injuries they suffered when Mr Ferrie opened fire - O'Gorman was shot in the face and Mansell was hit in his right hand - were not included, in his opinion, as part of their sentence or defence.

He said: "I make it plain that, in my judgment, being shot is not mitigation.

"If you burgle a house in the country where the householder owns a legally held shotgun, that is the chance you take.

"You cannot come to court and ask for a lighter sentence because of it."

Mansell and O'Gorman, who both have no fixed address, appeared in the dock wearing grey sweatshirts and showed little emotion as the judge spoke.

The scar from the gunshot wound was clearly visible on the right side of O'Gorman's face and Mansell had his arm in a sling.

Prosecutor Alan Murphy told the court that Mansell was released from prison in May last year after serving part of a six-year sentence for wounding with intent. In total, his criminal record consisted of eight previous convictions involving 19 offences.

O'Gorman had 16 previous convictions involving 27 offences, many for dishonesty and driving offences.

Judge Pert's comments came in response to mitigation from Andrew Frymann, representing O'Gorman, who said that being shot was, for his client, akin to a "near-death experience" for which he was not prepared.

His injuries have left him with blurred vision in his eye, severe pain and problems with his balance.

Replying to Mr Frymann's suggestion that O'Gorman was traumatised by the experience, Judge Pert said the arrest of Mr and Mrs Ferrie was just as severe.

"Some might argue that being arrested and locked up for 40 hours is a trauma," he said.

Opening the case for the prosecution, Mr Murphy said Mr and Mrs Ferrie, who were not in court because they are out of the country, went to bed at their isolated farm cottage as normal on the evening of September 1.

Mr Ferrie had locked and secured their home before retiring but it was not long before they were woken by noises inside their home.

"On the 2nd of September, when he and his wife Tracey were asleep in bed, they were disturbed by noises, banging coming from downstairs," Mr Murphy said.

"There was clearly an intruder or intruders in their house.

"They investigated. They went from their bedroom, downstairs, and on their way down Mrs Ferrie took hold of the couple's lawfully held shotgun and gave it to Mr Ferrie.

"They went downstairs and described seeing three males in the hall or kitchen area wearing some kind of face covering.

"One of the males, suspected to be Mr O'Gorman, was about to reach into a drawer in the kitchen which, they were aware but he probably was not, held a number of knives, as can be expected in a kitchen.

"As a result of that, Mr Ferrie fired his shotgun.

"Mr O'Gorman was hit in his face, Mr Mansell in his hand.

"The burglars fled without actually being able to steal anything."

The court heard that Mr Ferrie immediately called police to tell them what had happened and when they arrived he and his wife were arrested.

"In total, they were held in custody for around 40 hours - nearly two full days - before being released.

Police officers began searching for the intruders and alerted Leicester Royal Infirmary to see if anybody had presented themselves with shotgun injuries, Mr Murphy said.

At around 2am that same morning, O'Gorman arrived at the hospital with shotgun pellets in his face and was arrested by officers.

Mansell arrived a few hours later, at around 7am, with pellet wounds to his right hand and was also detained by police.

Both were on licence at the time of the offence.

Mr Murphy told the court that the men planned the burglary because they were told nobody would be at home and that there was a substantial amount of drugs and cash on the property.

Both claims were entirely incorrect, he told the court.

PA