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Anorak | Why are we siding with the armed vigilantes of Welby?

Why are we siding with the armed vigilantes of Welby?

by | 3rd, September 2012

ANDY Ferrie and his wife Tracey Ferrie live in a cottage in deepest Leicestershire. The Sun says he is 35 and she is 43. Two men have been shot there. The men – the victims? – were part of a gang of four intruders. Two people have been arrested and held on suspicion of GBH. Four men aged 27, 23, 31 and 33 have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated burglary.

The Indy reports:

The man and his wife were disturbed by the break-in in the Welby area of Leicestershire, near Melton Mowbray, in the early hours of yesterday morning. It is understood he grabbed a shotgun, which was legally owned, and shot two of the four intruders before calling police. The man, 35, and his 43-year-old wife were arrested in Melton on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. Neither suffered any injuries during the incident.

Who called the police?

The Indy: “It is understood that the call was made by one of the suspected burglars.”

The Sun: “…a man rang 999 to say he has opened fire on intruders”.

The Sun’s front-page headline tells readers:

“999 farm horror – I’ve Shot 2 Raiders”

The police make a statement:

“Police were called at 12.26am this morning by a man reporting a group of men had broken into his home in Melton. The man stated that during the course of the incident he had fired a legally held shot gun and the intruders had left the scene. Around five minutes later the ambulance service called to tell us they had been called to a man with injuries consistent with shotgun injuries. A second man presented at Leicester Royal Infirmary with similar injuries. Neither injuries are life threatening. Investigations have begun into both reports and six people, five men and one woman have been arrested. A 35-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman were arrested in Melton on suspicion of GBH and four men aged 27, 23, 31 and 33 were arrested at Leicester Royal Infirmary on suspicion of aggravated burglary. Inquiries are ongoing and there is very little else we can add at this time.”

The Sun adds some background. The homeowner is now called “Andy”. We are on first-name terms.

Andy’s mum Susan Spilner said: “This is not the first time they have been broken into. They have been robbed three or four times. One of them was quite nasty. They have not been injured but property has been stolen.”

And in case you were still unsure of what to think of the alleged shooter:

Neighbours in Melton Mowbray described the couple as “kind and pleasant”.

The Telegraph sums up its position on a headline:

Farm tenant arrested after burglars shot was ‘plagued by break-ins’ – A farm tenant and his wife who were arrested after two suspected burglars were shot at their isolated home had been the victims of a number of robberies.

Things in the country seem worse than things in the town. In the rural Midlands, who hears who scream? The trick is not to kill the burglar, who might only be in it for the kicks.

Thoughts turn to Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot dead burglars Fred Barras and wound his accomplice, Brendon Fearon. Martin was sentenced to five years prison. He became a cause célèbre. He gave a talk to six-formers ar Oundle school in Northamptonshire. The Daily Mirror paid him a reported £125,000 for his story.

Then came Munir Hussain, of High Wycombe, whose family was tied-up and threatened. He chased after Walid Salem, hitting him so hard with a cricket bat that the attacked became victim, suffering fractures of the skull, causing brain damage. Finding Hussain guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, the judge said: “It is somewhat ironic that by reason of the head injuries inflicted upon him he [Walid Salem] was unfit to plead and could not be sentenced to the very long period of imprisonment which would otherwise have been imposed upon him.”

The burglar is the other human most us fear above all others. They invade our space and use the living room floor as a toilet. They occupy a position of power. We’d all want to fight back. The trick is neither to maim them nor shoot them dead.



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