Judge backs baseball bat beating of burglar

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A burglar who was badly beaten with a baseball bat while trying to steal from a house got what he deserved, a judge said yesterday.

David Summers, 21, a drug addict, suffered a broken wrist, fractured elbow, cracked ribs and a cracked skull before managing to escape.

Lee Gapper, 20, and his lodger George Goodayle attacked Summers after he broke into their house in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Summers was repeatedly hit by Mr Gapper using the metal baseball bat after being confronted downstairs - then Mr Goodayle, 21, set about him with his fists.

The battered burglar, who had fled back to his home, was arrested minutes later. He had escaped by jumping over an outside fence.

Sentencing Summers to a year in jail for burglary, Judge Hugh Mayor QC said: "They used reasonable force.

"I am making no allowance for reduction in sentence for any hurt you may have received in a failed attempt of a citizen to arrest you.

"You brought that on yourself and I have no sympathy for those who receive hurt while committing a crime," he told Peterborough Crown Court.

After being caught Summers, of Field Walk, Peterborough, made allegations of assault against Mr Gapper and Mr Goodayle.

The two men were arrested, handcuffed and left in a police cell for 12 hours while they were interviewed about the allegation. After a police investigation the men were told they would not be charged with any offence.

Mr Gapper said after the case: "I was told if anything happened to the intruder I could be looking at manslaughter. I was petrified at the time.

"I think it was a disgrace what happened to Tony Martin. It means he is being made out to be a criminal. Everybody I have spoken to about it said, if anybody came into their home, they would have done the same."

Mr Gapper, of St John's Street, Peterborough, admitted keeping the metal baseball bat in his bedroom for self-defence.

He said: "I think 90 per cent of England has something to use to defend themselves, but I never thought I would use that bat.

"I acted out of fear. I'm not a violent person. I'm no angel, but I'm not violent."

Mr Gapper, a self-employed builder, described how momentarily he came face to face with the intruder after hearing a door in his house being smashed in. "He ran past me and I just hit out. I thought he could have hit me. I could feel my adrenalin take over my body. I could have killed him. Afterwards I was still shaking."