A BUSINESSMAN left a thief with three broken limbs after hitting out “like a madman” with a stick, but said it was in self-defence and he did not mean to cause the injuries.

Andrew Woodhouse, who owns Abergavenny Tyres, denies grievous bodily harm, and grievous bodily harm with intent, after Kevin Green was left with fractures in the early hours of March 26 last year.

Yesterday Cardiff Crown Court heard Mr Green, 53, admitted stealing diesel with his son-in-law Timothy Cross from machinery in Woodhouse’s yard in Llanfoist, where he also runs a landscaping business.

Woodhouse, 44, of Blaenavon Road, Govilon, was woken on the night of March 25, 2013, by a message stating an alarm had gone off at his business, the court heard.

He drove to his yard where he heard two men speaking. The men escaped into a field, pursued by Woodhouse, who said they were carrying something resembling jerrycans.

In a police interview Woodhouse said he swore at the men and grabbed one of them, then felt a blow to his hand and shoulder and began grappling with the men.

Woodhouse said that after being pushed over, he got hold of something which felt like a wooden fence post from someone’s hand and began swinging indiscriminately.

“I didn’t want to be on the floor with someone hitting me with the wood like that,” he said.

He estimated he swung out “like a madman” between six and ten times.

“I was just lashing out man, I was hitting as hard as I could,” he said in interview.

Green fell to the ground and Cross ran away, later returning with a piece of wood which he threw at Woodhouse, but Woodhouse caught it and restrained Cross until police arrived.

PC Aime McSherry arrived to find Woodhouse holding Cross down. Cross then told her: “He’s gone over the top with my father-in-law.”

She found Green lying under a duvet on the ground on Samuel Salter Close, Llanfoist, asking for an ambulance as his legs had been broken.

She told the court: “I asked him what happened. He said ‘I been nicking diesel and some bloke has beaten me up with a stick and broken my legs and my arm. I need an ambulance’.”

James Wilson, prosecuting, asked Woodhouse whether it was true that he saw his “hard-earned money being carted off by a couple of ne’er-do-wells” and gave chase in anger intending to injure them, a claim denied by Woodhouse.

The court heard Woodhouse’s business had been targeted in the past, when thieves took £15,000 to £25,000-worth of machinery, but he didn’t feel the police had offered enough assistance.

Cross was arrested on suspicion of theft and Green was taken to Nevill Hall Hospital. Both were later charged with theft and dealt with by magistrates.

Medical evidence read to the court stated that Green had fractured the tibia bone in his left leg and part of his left forearm likely to have been caused by a blow. He also had a hairline fracture to his right leg likely to have been caused by a fall, perhaps after being struck. He also had grazing and bruising.

In interview, Woodhouse described himself as “gutted” and sickened to learn the extent of Green’s injuries.