A BAREFOOT homeowner ripped his feet to shreds chasing a burglar over gravel before headbutting the thief and holding him down in a ‘citizen’s arrest’.
Burglar David Stedman was caught rummaging through the kitchen at a home in St Thomas’s Road, Gosport, at 2.30am on November 5.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard the victim, who was at home with his partner, was alerted by his dog who ran upstairs and barked at the couple.
Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer told how the resident, in his 30s, went downstairs to find his kitchen door shut.
Mr Sawyer said: ‘He pushed the door open, the room was in darkness but inside it was a silhouette of a person.
‘That person was holding a small torch.
‘The defendant turned, ran out the back door of the kitchen into the rear garden and through the gate.
‘(The resident) gave chase out of the garden and down a back alleyway chasing 150 metres or so over concrete and some gravel path.
‘The defendant tried to hide behind a fence but (the resident) caught him.
‘The defendant tried to dodge past, was chased for 10-20 metres and literally collared, (the resident) managed to grab hold of his collar.’
Stedman, 48, begged to be let go but then turned and ‘tried to fight’ and was ‘trying to punch (the resident) with both his hands.’
Mr Sawyer added: ‘The resident held him down and headbutted him to stop the defendant from attacking him.
‘He continued to restrain him until the police arrived.’
The court heard how the victim was off work for two months as the skin on his toes and soles healed after they were ripped from the rough ground.
Two tablet computers taken from the home had been dropped in the garden, the court heard.
Stedman, who has 51 convictions for 154 offences, was jailed for 29 months plus another three months for breaching a suspended sentence for theft.
Sentencing, Judge David Melville QC said: ‘It was a very nasty incident for anyone at 2.30 in the morning to find you and effectively give a citizen’s arrest.’
Daniel Reilly, for Stedman, said his client had been offered Valium after living homeless and had little recollection of the burglary.
He said Stedman, of Mariners Way, Gosport, also had a five-year break in a 27-year history of past offending before the theft in September last year.
Stedman was handed a 32-month sentence but will serve half, the judge said.
Investigating officer DC Dermot McBride said: ‘I welcome this sentence as it sends a clear message that we will thoroughly investigate and seek a prosecution for these kinds of burglary offences whenever possible. This investigation was assisted by response and patrol officers and members of Gosport’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, their contribution has been invaluable to ensuring that Stedman cannot cause distress to any other families in Gosport.
‘While I commend the actions and bravery of the victim, I would never advise anyone to confront an intruder in their home. Call us immediately on 999 instead to ensure that we can get there as quickly as possible.
‘Thankfully the victim is recovering from the injuries to his feet, but as the victim impact statement highlighted, his family have been traumatised by the experience, which has made them feel uneasy in their own home. I hope this sentence goes some way to helping all of them to move past this troubling experience.’