7:36pm Thursday 23rd January 2014
A DAD cleared of GBH after trying to detain two thieves who raided his family business said he would take on intruders again.
Andrew Woodhouse, who owns Abergavenny Tyres, was found not guilty of using unlawful violence against Kevin Green who stole diesel from his yard and was left with three broken limbs.
Yesterday a defiant Mr Woodhouse, 44, said he regretted the injuries caused to Green in a struggle, but if thieves struck another time he would again try to apprehend them with a citizen’s arrest.
Mr Woodhouse said he tried to detain the men, but was hit with a piece of wood and knocked down by one of them before he managed to wrestle it from them and hit them back.
He told the Argus: “All I was doing was hitting, I was hitting everything. I regret the damage that I’ve done to Mr Green but if I didn’t do what I did that night I don’t know what would have happened – it could have been me dead in the corner. I don’t think they would have phoned the police and waited for the police to come, like I waited for the police.
“To deserving it - if they weren’t carrying a weapon this would never have happened.”
“I’ve looked back over these last ten months and there’s no other way I could have dealt with that night, unless I let them get away with what they were doing. They wouldn’t have stopped and let me have my diesel back if I didn’t do what I did.”
After a burglar alarm went off at just after midnight on March 26 last year, Mr Woodhouse, of Blaenavon Road, Govilon, got out of bed and drove the two miles to his yard in Llanfoist where he heard voices.
Mr Woodhouse, father to Joshua, Chay-Tyrell, Mikeal, Taezer and Kesarai, (all corr) chased Green and another thief Timothy Cross and caught up with them in a nearby housing estate, intending to get back his stolen jerry cans of diesel and detain the two until police arrived.
He fought with the pair and after Green fell to the ground, Cross ran away, returning with another piece of wood which he threw at Mr Woodhouse.
He gave chase and caught and pinned down Cross.
Mr Woodhouse's wife Lisa followed her husband to the scene and he shouted to her to call 999.
When PC Aime McSherry arrived, Mr Woodhouse had Cross pinned down and handed him over to her. PC McSherry then found Green lying under a duvet on the ground on Samuel Salter Close, Llanfoist, asking for an ambulance as his legs had been broken.
In a police interview he said he was “gutted” to learn the extent of 53-year-old Green’s injuries. He needed several operations and still uses crutches.
Mr Woodhouse said since his acquittal, he has received non-stop phone calls from people congratulating him on the result, with strangers even offering to pay his legal costs.
But he declined, despite saying: “It’s been a burden financially but you just have to work through it and make it work, that’s what you do if you’re self employed.”
He said: “If I could change something I would, but I don’t think I could change anything that happened that night. If they hadn’t had a weapon, none of this would have happened. Perhaps I would have had my diesel back, apprehended one of them and the police would have arrived and took one away or took two away.
“In the heat of the moment, them getting away – I don’t think the police would have come quickly enough to apprehend them so I thought I had to recover my own stuff."
He praised the justice system but added: “I think they have to look harder into the law. I’m not saying we should have all the rights, we can’t just go around doing what we want, but if people come into your property committing a crime, thieving or whatever, vandalising, I think they deserve what they get.
"If a thief comes in with a weapon I think people are entitled to use whatever means they want to disarm that thief and whatever the consequences are, they are. If they’re armed, what do they expect is going to happen to them?”
In a normal year, Mr Woodhouse said he would expect around a dozen thefts - with thieves on one occasion making off with between £15,000 and £25,000 worth of goods. “Since this thing, nothing else has been stolen. Funny that isn’t it? So some good has come of it,” Mr Woodhouse said.
He described the trial as an “ordeal” but praised the judge and jury and acknowledged that “the police have got a hard job to do” but said the CPS should have examined the evidence more closely.
His wife of 29 years Lisa Woodhouse said after the verdict the family had double cause for celebration as it was Kesarai's 11th birthday party.
She added: “At the end of the day, Andrew didn’t want that to happen. He did what he thought was right - it was either them or him.”
A Facebook page called 'Support Andrew Woodhouse' had attracted more than 5,000 likes by yesterday evening and he said he wanted to thank everyone for their support.
It took a jury just 25 minutes to find Mr Woodhouse not guilty of both causing GBH and causing GBH with intent by unanimous verdicts on Wednesday.
Green and Cross admitted theft and were each fined £75 by magistrates.
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